What does the term “culture of innovation” actually mean? Two scenarios can be used to illustrate what it’s all about and what is important. Our fictitious employee is Klaus – and the working worlds invented for this story couldn’t be more different…
Scenario 1: A fairy tale
Klaus drives to the company car park. The last free parking space is at the very end of the site. So he quickly parks his car and walks 750 meters back to the entrance. This is where all the parking spaces for board members are, almost all of them are empty – no wonder, seeing as most of them now have their permanent jobs abroad.
Old, slightly yellowed photos are hanging in the building. They tell of the company’s glorious past. There’s a smell of coffee in the air, probably for the conference rooms. Because the cafeteria is still closed. But his own office is tidy and clean. What’s on the agenda for the day? The preparation for a presentation, the monthly report, a meeting with the boss and an appointment with the HR department.
The presentation about his own strategic idea is fun. Klaus explains in a well-founded and detailed way how it can be implemented profitably in the shortest possible time. Admittedly, it lies somewhat outside of the core business, but its potential could lead to a new division in the future. And that would be important, because the figures in the monthly report are not exactly great. However, the quota of activities that concentrate on new ideas has been more than overfilled. So all in all, everything should fit – thinks Klaus.
In the meeting with his boss, Klaus holds the presentation and presents the monthly report. The boss leafs through the presentation, nods briefly and informs Klaus that the presentation date has been postponed by six weeks. He takes more time with the monthly report because he doesn’t like the figures. All activities that have to do with new ideas must therefore be reduced in order to save money.
But the company wants innovations, at least that’s what the company newspaper says in black and white. This information is the subject of an interview with the HR management. Klaus would like to know what his next career steps might look like and how the contradiction regarding the culture of innovation could be resolved. Klaus asserts that HR management is avoiding the issue. HR management later writes a note stating that Klaus is displaying a lack of support.
A few weeks later, Klaus and his boss talk about the numbers and patience in his professional development. Klaus has repeatedly pointed out in these discussions that the company’s strategy is supposed to be innovation, but that this is not reflected in his tasks.
A few weeks later, Klaus is so frustrated that he quits – and the company happily accepts his resignation. And then the company lives happily ever after… or does it?
This story could take a very different path. How exactly is something you can find out in February. Or you can talk to me – I’d be happy to tell you how you can keep employees like Klaus motivated and committed.