What are the top drivers of a culture of innovation?

In Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. suggests that there are six top drivers of a culture of innovation:

1. Positive Interpersonal Exchange: A strong sense of cohesion throughout the organization because employees feel they are all playing on the same team

2. Intellectual Stimulation: Constant and candid discussion of common purpose and HOW to serve it

3. Challenge: Workers feel that they and what they do have value and are appreciated

4. Feasibility and Risk Taking: Everyone involved is willing and able to take risks when attempting to make something new or better

5. Top Level Support: Top management supports and protects those whose new ideas best efforts add value

6. Innovation Compensation and Benefits: Top management rewords those who improve what must be done to ensure the organization’s success

Whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations need leaders at all levels and in all areas to (a) push boundaries to power organizational agility, (b) unleash digitization, (c) embrace perpetual work reinvention, (d) rethink culture and leadership, and (e) elevate decision-making to a science (not allow it to be a collective hunch).

Those who aspire to become a more effective leader should keep in mind this passage from Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching:

“Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves.”

* * *

Johnny Clayton Taylor Jr.  is an American lawyer, author and public speaker who is the president & CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). He was previously president & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), which represents the US’s 47 publicly supported historically Black colleges and universities.

Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval was published by PublicAffairs (September 2021)



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