Three hidden inhibitors of innovation (Part 3: Rewards)

(In the last two weeks I’ve written about the hidden inhibitors of innovation culture. First I wrote about how strategy needs to be rooted in the human experience, and my second blog was about human-centered metrics. This article addresses rewards at work.)

Although organizational culture comprises a wide variety of factors, I believe three of them – strategy, metrics, and rewards – warrant closer scrutiny when the goal is to establish a “culture of innovation”. While these three factors are regularly deliberated, discussed and decided upon by the senior leadership teams, critical blind spots remain. Therefore, it is more likely that leadership creates innovation-inhibiting conditions by agreeing to:

1. An innovation strategy that is not rooted in the human experience,

2. Irrelevant or distracting innovation metrics, and

3. A reward system that doesn’t actually reward the deeper human needs.  

Having the courage to go deeper into the realm of “humanness” creates an innovation force multiplier and can dramatically improve the successful innovation culture.

Your reward system is effective only when your people feel rewarded 

Innovation efforts by their nature are about experimentation without guarantees for their Human-centeredsuccess. In the best-case scenario, innovation efforts can result in new products, services, business models, and business processes. In reality, though, Continue reading Three hidden inhibitors of innovation (Part 3: Rewards)

Three hidden ways your corporate culture inhibits innovation (part 2: Metrics)

Leaders often create innovation-inhibiting conditions by agreeing to:

1. An innovation strategy that is not rooted in human experience,  2. Irrelevant or distracting innovation metrics, and 3. A reward system that doesn’t actually reward the deeper human needs.

By having the courage to go deeper into the realm of “humanness” creates an innovation force multiplier and can dramatically improve the successful innovation culture.

Last week I wrote about how to connect your strategy with the human experience.  Here is what you can do about the inhibitor number 2:

2.     Connect your innovation metrics to the human experience

Continue reading Three hidden ways your corporate culture inhibits innovation (part 2: Metrics)

Three hidden ways your corporate culture inhibits innovation – (Part 1: Strategy)

Oodi, Helsinki Finland

Published on February 20, 2020

Virtually all companies now claim to have a culture of innovation, yet they often fail to recognize disconnects between the performance of teams and overall governing corporate culture that may be dampening or even distorting innovation.  Seeing these invisible cultural disconnects is similar to seeing the invisible biological disconnects that are revealed in a functional MRI. When the driving action of innovation teams is going on beneath the surface, it remains invisible, unspeakable and therefore unmanaged.

My work with teams aspiring to best-in-class innovation has revealed the nature of these Continue reading Three hidden ways your corporate culture inhibits innovation – (Part 1: Strategy)

Time is Right for Civility Engineering

Civility rules

I was recently invited to speak at a civil engineers’ conference about the hot topic of #Inclusive Leadership. On my way to the conference, I pondered my connection to the world of civil engineering. I realized how the results of civil engineering were all around me. I began marveling at the landmarks – signs of engineering ingenuity on my way to the conference: the viaduct, bridges, skyscrapers, ferries and even the conference center where I was going to be speaking at. I was in awe.

It occurred to me at that moment that while I’m not a civil engineer, I am a “Civility Engineer”, one who works with behavior “engineering”.  

Continue reading Time is Right for Civility Engineering

What Really Matters – the ROI of Executive Coaching

When The Seattle Times headlined a front-page story (Aug 17, 2018) about the fee per hour for #coaching the CEO of Sound Transit, it was curious that the hourly rate ($550) of the coach earned the headliner status rather than the reasons why coaching was requested in the first place.  (And despite all the litigations plentiful in this country, we have yet to see a front-page headline about the hourly rate of the top lawyers.)

A much more interesting figure would have been a calculation of the cost of doing nothing about a “brash”, “aggressive” or even abusive leader. Or the cost of lost productivity because of employees dealing with sexism and interactions laced with profane language.  Or, what if, instead of hiring a #coach, the CEO had spent about $10,000 and bought all his Continue reading What Really Matters – the ROI of Executive Coaching

The Superpower of Inclusive Leadership Revealed

As a leadership consultant, I help leaders to be thoughtful and strategic about designing inclusive organizations. There is intense discussion, debate, research and experiment going on in this space. I challenged myself to identify the single most impactful lever – or a superpower – to implementing inclusive practices in organizations. I recently shared what I came to realize at the TechInclusion Conference in Seattle, and now I want to share my insight with you here.

Inclusive leadership is made out of two equally challenging parts, “inclusion” and “leadership” – so, let’s first explore some key characteristics of each of them.

Continue reading The Superpower of Inclusive Leadership Revealed

Why Do Diversity Efforts Fail?

So, you’ve read the research and know that diverse teams perform better. You diligently hire for diversity, knowing that doing so will increase the intelligence quotient of your team and thus make your company more competitive and cutting-edge…right?

Well, not necessarily. If all you’ve done is hire for diversity and then sit back and wait for the magic to happen, you will probably be disappointed. Your team will fail to meet your expectations and Continue reading Why Do Diversity Efforts Fail?

A Lesson on Leadership, Or How I Got Lost in HEL

Last year I was invited to speak about organizational culture leadership at an annual convening of customer service leaders of the Worldwide Airline Customer Relations Association (WACRA) in Helsinki, Finland.

HEL
Helsinki airport

I was ecstatic about this invitation because it not only allowed me to speak about a topic I love, but it also provided an opportunity to see my family in my native Finland.

For some 27 years I’ve been an expatriate Finn who travels back to the country of my birth once or twice a year. Continue reading A Lesson on Leadership, Or How I Got Lost in HEL

If culture eats strategy for breakfast – what’s for dinner?

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to participate and present at the annual conference of the Worldwide Airline Customer Relations Association (WACRA) in Helsinki, Finland. WACRA has been convening for seventy years – with the exception of 2001 when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened. While #WACRA16 was hosted by Finnair, the audience consisted of customer relations and service leaders from almost thirty airlines around the world; Delta, Southwest, Virgin breakfast on FinnairAmerica, Bangkok, Emirates, Qatar, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, just to name a few.

Continue reading If culture eats strategy for breakfast – what’s for dinner?