Creating a Culture of Innovation

The following is an excerpt of a blog post reprinted with permission from AchieveIt.

Last week, we provided the following five tips for evolving your company from an accountable culture to a culture of execution.

1.    Intertwine mission, vision and strategy.
2.    Communicate your strategy regularly.
3.    Include strategy discussion in employee orientation.
4.    Reward employees who internalize strategy within the daily jobs.
5.    Post dashboards and scorecards in every department and every unit.

Companies that successfully develop a culture of execution by driving strategy to the front lines create a competitive advantage in the market place. How? With all employees involved in strategy execution, mission fulfillment and vision achievement, the organization naturally elevates and enhances customer and employee satisfaction, quality and overall company performance. If the strategy is sound and the entire organization is involved in strategy execution, then the ability to grow market share becomes exponential.

But there is an additional advantage to involving all employees in execution. When you create a culture of execution, you naturally evolve to a culture of innovation, whereby the entire organization is involved in improving processes, effectiveness and efficiency — which creates a sustainable competitive advantage.

True innovation comes from those who are closest to product or service delivery, as those are the employees who have the most insight as to how your company's offerings are being used by your customers. They are first-hand witnesses to product and service successes and shortcomings, how customers adapt your offerings to fit their unique needs, how your customers use your products and services in ways never intended and gaps in your company's product or service delivery.

If you're staff is isolated from your organization's core strategies and have little — if any — idea how their jobs drive strategy execution, creating a culture of innovation is impossible. Relying on a small group of executives to drive innovation may yield some profitable results, but it will never yield long-term breakthrough results. Innovation breakthroughs almost always come from those closest to the action, and those people are your front-line staff. Create a culture of execution and you are one step away from unlocking a culture of innovation — a culture that will create a long-term market differentiation.

Imagine having everyone in your company involved in driving innovation every single day. But it's not as easy as creating a culture of collaboration, evolving to an accountable culture, and then evolving once more to a culture of execution. You need to install processes and methodologies for capturing innovation where it occurs — [at] the front lines. Innovation without knowledge capture serves no purpose. You need to provide employees mechanisms that move innovation up the corporate ladder, from front-line staff to middle management and, finally, to executive leadership.

More Articles on AchieveIt:

5 Tips for Creating a Culture of Execution
Developing a Culture of Execution

Developing a Culture of Accountability

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