Developing a Company Culture of Innovation

About the Author: Ricardo Roman is the Director of Association Management with Caliper, an employee assessment and development firm located in Princeton, NJ. Caliper is an Affiliate member of TMSA. 

Technological advances have forced businesses to adapt on the fly in recent years, but it’s fair to say the transport and logistics industry has been challenged more than any other. Continuous reinvention is not an option in this field; it’s a necessity.

Being adaptable and open to change are essential aspects of a transport and logistic operator’s culture nowadays. However, that’s not enough. Business leaders must foster a culture of innovation to drive real success. In other words, you need to lead change instead of chasing it.

But how do you get there? Anyone can say, “We’re innovative,” but those are empty words if you don’t have the people on your team to realize the promise of innovation and creativity. The answer is performance competencies, which compare an individual’s intrinsic motivations to the behaviors that equate to strong job performance. By exploring the competencies of your existing team members, you can both identify hidden potential and uncover the talent gaps holding your organization back.

These are the key performance competencies that point to leadership in innovation:

  • Analytical Thinking – The capability to identify and synthesize information from diverse sources by looking for patterns in data, making connections between seemingly unrelated events, and understanding how different parts of a system are interdependent
  • Creativity and Innovation – Showing divergent thinking and the propensity to question existing practices; challenge commonly held assumptions; originate new or radical alternatives to traditional methods, processes, and products; and build on others’ ideas
  • Information Seeking – Displaying an underlying curiosity and desire to know more about things, people, or issues; people strong in this competency go beyond routine questions and dig for exact information, to understand the dynamics at play in a business situation.
  • Initiating Action – This competency suggests the drive to take a leading role in improving or enhancing a product or service while developing entrepreneurial opportunities and avoiding problems. Those who initiate action often demonstrate a positive attitude toward getting things done and seek additional responsibilities beyond the scope of their formal job description.
  • Learning Agility – The capacity to discern patterns in data, recognize relationships between concepts, and apply learning from one context to solve analogous problems in other contexts
  • Strategic Thinking – The capability to develop and help drive a shared understanding of a long-term vision that describes how the organization needs to operate now and in the future
  • These scientifically validated competencies are based upon years of research into – and data analysis of – intrinsic personality traits as they relate to job performance. Ultimately, people who demonstrate these competencies are much more likely to be innovators than those who do not show them. If you truly want your company to be a creative leader in the industry, you have to examine your organizational “bench strength” and start filling in the gaps with those capable of innovating. 

Changing a company culture is not something you can accomplish with words alone. It takes time and effort to move the needle, and the best place to start is by measuring people’s performance competencies.

Interested in learning more? Caliper has developed an Association Resource Center - check it out! 

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