Innovation-friendly Culture

The Business Issue

Building a more Innovative and Agile Organization requires a profound cultural paradigm shift at leadership level. Based on our experience with clients across industries, most cultural change programs do not achieve the desired change. Why?

  • Issue#1: lack of consistency between the officially communicated “Espoused Values” and actual leaders’ behaviors. This inconsistency causes cynicism and poor credibility of cultural change initiatives just based on communication
  • Issue#2: absence of a new “social contract” including a broader number of leaders. A limited group of people (CEO, head of HR, …) defines the new “Espoused Values” without involving the reporting layers of leaders who are equally visible in the organization with their daily behaviors. If they do not commit to a new social contract the change will not happen.

The Management Idea

  • ECSI together with Harvard Business School Professor Gary Pisano offers a systematic approach to develop innovation and agile oriented cultures working on the leaders’ behaviors 
  • Our approach is built around Pisano’s 5 Paradoxes of Innovative Cultures (Tolerance for Failure but Intolerance for Incompetence; Willingness to Experiment but Highly Disciplined; Psychologically Safe but Brutally Candid; Collaborative bur with Individual Accountability, Flat but Strong Leadership)
  • Pisano’s 5 Paradoxes are translated into a deck of cards (each card with a leader’s behavior) used as a gamification tool to engage leaders in the design of their new social contract 
  • Using the behavior cards, leaders define what to Stop Doing, what to Start Doing and what to Keep Doing. A transparent agreement is created
  • The new social contract is implemented leveraging a set of well tested actionable levers that help leaders to comply with the new social contract, communicate, sustain and embed in the organization.

The Results

  • Alignment and consistency among the leaders’ behaviors at different layers is key to successful cultural changes (organizational culture and leaders’ behaviors are two faces of the same coin)
  • A transparent agreement (the new social contract) is created, and leaders comply at different levels (Level 1 leaders commit on behaviors with their Level 2; Level 2 leaders commit on behaviors with their Level 3; and so forth)
  • Improvements are measurable over-time.

Innovative and agile culture transformation process

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Alessandro Di Fiore

Alessandro Di Fiore

Founder & CEO