And The Survey Says – About Innovation


Reading for Leading Audio


I wrote last week about innovation, and only three people left blog comments. Then I posted a 5-question survey about innovation. Take it. It will take you – about 2 minutes max. When you finish it’ll show you the results. But here’s a major preview.

83% of respondents said that “innovation is extremely important for our economic competitiveness,” and another 15.5% said it’s “pretty important.” But are we doing it? I don’t think I have ever worked at a place where 98% of us were acting like innovation was that important. Do your leaders – both the ones who get paid to lead and the ones who do it without title or position – act like innovation is that important? If we are serious about innovation and competitiveness, then I think we should put this question on every staff meeting agenda: What can we do that (more) customers or clients will feel we are giving them a better product, service, or deal?

And here’s the other primary takeaway from the survey results: people’s answers demonstrate, as Buckingham and Coffman wrote in First Break All the Rules: “managers trump companies.” It’s not corporate policy but manager behavior that creates an innovative work culture.  The two most important behaviors for creating an innovative culture, according to respondents are: “my manager values my ideas” (almost 60% say that’s extremely important) and “you don’t get punished for taking risks.” So, if you’re a manager the script is clear: listen to your people’s ideas and let them know how you value them, and do all you can not to punish creative thinking.

Develop a relentless focus on innovating for customers, and

Lead with your best self,


P.S.  Speaking of innovation – follow me at