Coming up with creative ideas is an unspoken expectation in the business environment. But how much of that is your responsibility, and how much of that boils down to your company’s culture? This week Heléne Lindsay, Head of Customer unpacks what healthy company culture looks like and how to foster it for organisational and personal success. Read on, and see how your organisation stacks up.

Current (daunting) reality

“I want something that pops!” “Think outside the box!” “We need creative ideas, people!”

How many times have you heard these demands throughout your career? Or how many times have you personally realised the crucial need for organisational adaptation and innovation due to changes in the market? How many times have you realised you don’t have the power, or a cooking clue how to take it further?

As organisations grapple with staying ahead of an increasingly complex landscape, these kinds of demands are being levied at staff at an accelerating pace. Technology is the main driver, enabling mega-disruptions to the status quo, and facilitating leveling of the playing field by transferring the control of power from big brands to the everyday consumer.

All of this has set in motion a veritable “how to outperform the competition” hamster-wheel that’s just turning faster and faster.

Future success comes down to (company) culture

Disclaimer: For any readers who disagree that 21st Century business survival (let alone success) is going to require a whole new skillset and approach, you don’t have to read any further… good luck in continuing to operate in ignorance.

For the rest – regardless of whether you’re a junior or in EXCO, at a start-up or a multinational corporation – know that it all comes down to one foundational starting point: the culture of the company. Does it support and actively encourage innovation? Is it geared for agility and timeous adaptation?

This checklist won’t save you, but it will show you a thing or two

To determine the extent to which your organisation is committed to, and preparing for, success in the future, we’ve distilled the influencing factors into five key criteria.

From the top, start with a Behaviour in the first column, then decide whether Option A or Option B in the same row, best describes your current company culture. At the end, you’ll be able to see whether you’re on your way to success or not so much.

The result, what it means for you and your company

  • If you chose mostly Option A, you’re in a good place. Keep doing what you’re doing and pursuing greatness.
  • If you chose mostly Option B, you’re in for a rough ride. It’s frustrating when you’re amped about future possibilities but powerless to do anything about it. Don’t despair.

Now get EXCO and other staff members to fill it in. Then compare the 3 sets of results to see how aligned you are in your thinking. If the results are similar, you’re on the path to success. If they differ greatly, you might need to ask yourself why.

Now move forward

History proves that great ideas come from a myriad, and often unexpected, sources. It might be low-level juniors who see a way of improving a process, experience or value. It might be frustrated customers who highlight an untapped gap in the market, or a need that isn’t being addressed.

So fight for what you believe is right. If your current organisation doesn’t appreciate your respectful, considered proposals to improve or innovate; it’s their loss. Hang in there, until you’re ready to make a move – inside or outside the company.

Learn and hone your ability to spot the opportunities, identify the gaps, and make a powerful motivation for much-needed change. It’s a rare trait that will be hugely valuable and sought-after in the future. And that will lead to your future success.