The Flexible Culture


When an organization wants to impact product development and innovation they tend to create a culture steeped in Involvement and Adaptability. These are highly creative companies that quickly respond to customer and employees changing needs.

We spoke recently about cultures high in Involvement. To quickly review, they empower people, build teams and take time to develop organizational capability. They see that decisions are made at the lowest possible levels, ensure the right resources are available to tackle any job, encourage others to take responsibility, know how to use teams to execute projects, values employee’s contributions and strongly encourages a diverse workforce with lots of coaching and teaching.

Adaptability looks like this:

A culture that Creates Changes

• Encourages creative thinking
• Challenges “the way we’ve always done things”
• Generates innovative ideas and solutions to problems

A culture that Emphasizes Customer Focus

• Encourages direct contact with customers
• Responds quickly and effectively to customer feedback
• Actively seeks feedback from customers and continuously tries to improve service to them

A culture that Promotes Organizational Learning

• Deals constructively with failure and mistakes
• Creates a “learning” working environment
• Encourages employees to understand industry best practices
• Openly accepts criticism without being defensive

You can see that the Flexible Culture (Involvement and Adaptability) is responsive. They make decisions based on employee and customer involvement. You can also see how this type of culture could easily fail if they didn’t also have some level of Consistency and Mission within the organization to balance the outward focus and extreme flexibility. Digital electronics companies easily fall into this category. The industry is moving so quickly and the customer has so many demands, they need to remain nimble. Yet, they also need a high-quality product and have their employees looking to a core, driving mission – something that leaders like Steve Jobs has taken to incredible levels within Apple. He, among others, has been able to be flexible without losing quality or drift from the company mission.

We’ll look at one more culture type next time, and then begin to examine the importance of balance within any culture. Stay tuned.


One Response to “The Flexible Culture”

  1. Hi. I think you’re wrong. I’m sure. I can prove it.

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