Is your Corporate Culture Killing Innovation?

You probably know about the concept of cause and effect, AKA causality. It’s the relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), when the effect is the direct result of the event.

For instance, if you hit your thumb with a hammer (the cause), your thumb is going to hurt (the effect.) Often we can figure out the cause simply by looking at the effect. In this example, if you see a smashed thumb and a hammer nearby, you can be pretty confident that the cause of the injury was the hammer.

But when it comes to people, particularly in relation to corporate culture and specifically declining innovation cause and effect can get more than a little fuzzy.

Angry Executives Case Study

Let’s take a look at two high-level executives: Michael and Linda have just come out of a meeting. Both are angry at the way things are going in the company and secretly both of them are thinking about finding a new opportunity.

If you, as their manager, look back at what happened in the meeting, you will see that Michael and Linda had disagreed about how to proceed with the next step in implementing a new marketing plan. No big deal, it happens all the time…right? Sure, there had been some heated discussion, but from the way you saw it, it seemed like the compromise you worked out had been satisfactory to both of them. At least they seemed okay when they left the meeting, so you would be stunned to learn that both of them had had their corporate loyalty shaken, and they were thinking about leaving the company.

Old-School Solution

Two of your top talented people are looking to leave you, and you don’t want to lose either of them, let alone face the nightmare of having to find the right person to replace them. So what do you do?

Well if you are an old school more traditional leader, you might call them in to your office one at a time and offer each of them a raise, maybe a better office, a closer parking spot — any of the perks that go along with rewarding performance. Of course you would be careful to make sure that what you gave each of them was comparable, so that there wouldn’t appear to be any favouritism… (Unless you made different offers and then swore them to secrecy.)

They leave your office and appear to be happy. You breath a sigh of relief and tell yourself that you’ve done well, having obverted a hiring crisis, corporate culture and loyalty reestablished. In that moment you cross Michael and Linda’s issues off your list and move on to what you believe are more pressing problems.

The following week, they both come into your office and drop the bomb, they hand in their resignations, and you my friend are gobsmacked. it feels like your brain just blew out of your ears…Why on earth would they still be unhappy?

The reason is that you were looking at the result (their dissatisfaction at work) and you assumed the cause of their discontent was the same — lack of perks and or lack of respect.

And guess what… that’s where you would be completely wrong.

Yes, the result — quitting — was the same, but the reasons, even for two executives at the same corporate level couldn’t have been more different.

Click here for my latest for

Want to retain your top talent? Then my “Fiercely Loyal” book is for you! Plus get your free: “How to instantly bond any team” infographic.

Dov Baron is first and foremost “The Dragonist”. As The Dragonist, he teaches us how to recognize, find, retain and nurture dragons (top talent) hidden within our organizations.

Want to learn more about what Dov has to offer, and how you too can become a Dragonist in your realm? If you and your leadership team are dedicated to getting the result you set out to achieve in the most meaningful manner, bring Dov in to speak to your organization about the strategic advantages of Dragon Leadership. Go here to get started.

With gratitude,

Copyright: Dov Baron International 2020

Inc Magazine Top 100 Leadership Speaker, Top30 Global Leadership Guru, Inc #1 Podcast for Fortune 500 Executives, The Worlds Leading Meaning Authority