Your organization prides itself on its inclusiveness. Everyone is included in everything: It’s one big, happy, collaborative family.
But there’s a downside. All that collaboration grinds your operation to a slow crawl. Innovation unfolds in baby steps with dozens of employees chiming in. Decisions evolve at a snail’s pace as people contradict each other and debate their views in a series of time-consuming, fruitless meetings.
“I’m starting to rethink this whole emphasis on integration and collaboration,” says one of our readers, a senior manager at an appliance maker. “I’ve got nothing against. But if five of us are ready to make a bold, gutsy move, you can bet five others will nose their way in, state their objections and stop us from moving forward.”
Yourlargely determines whether teams work for or against the greater good. In a consensus-based environment, leaders at all levels hesitate to make any consequential move until they receive buy-in from all their colleagues.
In a more entrepreneurial climate, small groups of passionate risk-takers can experiment with new ideas. They can erect a wall to prevent meddlers from undermining their progress.
To audit your culture, review the most significant innovations of the past year. How did they come about? Who was involved? Did the ideas develop through formal or informal channels?
By identifying the ideal environment within which creativity thrives at your workplace, you can create opportunities to encourage collaboration without killing innovation.
In a battle of advertising titans, Microsoft and Apple are running television commercials promoting the superiority of their respective products. Apple gained the initial advantage a few years ago with its clever “Get a Mac” ads as the cool Mac guy sparred with the blundering PC fool.
But as The New York Times reports, Microsoft recently launched successful “I’m a PC” ads. What’s interesting is how Microsoft’s execs approved these cutting-edge ads.
“On Madison Avenue, they say that the more hands that touch an advertisement, the worse it becomes,” according to the Times. Because Microsoft’s longstanding approach to software development involves many people shaping the ultimate product, its culture welcomed meddlers.
To develop the TV ad, however, the company set up a nine-member committee. Outsiders were kept away.