What does it mean to create a culture of market leadership? It means that you are able to consistently generate new, innovative, and desirable products and markets ahead of your competition. Market leaders develop a culture that welcomes new technologies, encourages a thirst for knowledge, and breaks down any barriers to creative and opportunistic steps forward.
The Definition of Corporate Culture
To create a culture of market leadership leaders must understand how to align workplace culture and how to innovate. We define corporate culture as how things actually get done in an organization. Culture includes the known and unspoken values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors. And culture matters – our organizational alignment research found that culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high- and low-performing companies.
Five Essentials to Create a Culture of Market Leadership
If your aim is to dominate through innovation, you need to purposefully create a culture that will support and encourage innovation. It goes without saying that no culture can be innovative without hiring, engaging and retaining visionary talent that injects energy and fresh ideas. Beyond hiring right, you’ll need to foster an environment where employees have:
1. Space to Innovate and Experiment
Encourage a culture where employees are not met with multiple, unnecessary barriers. See that they can reach across functions for help and support, present new ideas to open ears, and seek sponsorship for needed resources to test new ideas. Consider allowing employees to devote a percentage of their time to innovative endeavors.
2. Both Autonomy and Accountability
Your culture should give employees the sense that they are responsible for plans that are realistic in your unique situation and the discretion to act without too much bureaucratic oversight. You want to encourage creativity by giving some latitude but, at the same time, asking that employees do not waste time and resources in the pursuit of an unrealistic idea.
3. A Willingness to Anticipate, Challenge, and Disturb
Be sure not to quash unconventional thinking or to punish failure. Agree that the status quo needs to be challenged – sometimes with what appears to be unreasonable proposals – and make sure that you reward, recognize, and promote fresh thinking. Explore job rotations, tour innovative companies, connect with leading academics, and invest heavily in R&D.
4. A Chance to Focus
Don’t overload employees with too many projects. Even high performers are not able to focus successfully if their efforts are too diluted. Give employees no more than two or three projects at a time so they can focus on what matters most.
5. Opportunities to Interact with External Experts
Cross-fertilization builds stronger, healthier plants. In the business world, it allows for exposure to new insights, the sharing of ideas and the possibility of collaboration. Explore unique mixes of people, teams, divisions, and partnerships in search of new energy and fresh ideas.
The Bottom Line
A culture of market leadership excels at developing new products and services and building solutions for new markets. If you are looking to stay one step ahead of the competition, learn more about how to create a culture of innovation by downloading The 3 Levels of Culture to Get Right
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