Factor 17: Loyalty

This factor deals with management’s expectations regarding loyalty to the company versus personal development.

Factor extremes as measured in survey:

Management expects people to be totally devoted to the development of the corporation


Management encourages people to work towards their own personnel development

Overview to restructuring initiatives

Long a matter of some dispute, it seems that corporations that provide some assistance and support for individual employee initiatives for personal development, linked in a not-so-prescribed manner to the corporate goals per se, retain innovators because of the atmosphere created by the policy.

An example of contrasts in the approach to employee loyalty

Time Magazine, February 20th, 2006 reports that at Google Inc. innovation tends to bubble up from the bright minds. Employees are expected to break their time into 3 parts; 70% devoted to Google’s core business which is search and advertising, 20% on pursuits related to the core, and 10% on far out ideas.

The approach taken by Google is in sharp contrast to that taken by Wal-Mart. Reference an article in the New Yorker magazine: April 2, 2007, entitled Selling Wal-Mart. ‘Not far from Simon’s office is a wall covered with exhortations to the company’s workers. One reads; “If you aren’t working on sales or things that enhance the profitability of this company, then you are working on the wrong things”. A sharp contrast indeed!

Devote at least 2 per cent of labor hours to projects considered radical. Invite everyone within your organization, within some risk parameters, to devote some portion of their time to something other than doing their job 3 per cent better. Source: Gary Hamel, Executive Excellence (Referenced from: harvey@harveyschachter.com).

Possible initiatives to modify and improve the culture for innovation

Establish a policy that encourages individuals to develop their own interests that are within the corporate mandates

Organizations that leave some flexibility for personal time that is not too far off the corporate norm are seen to have an environment that considers both the individual and his/her interests as well as those of the corporation. Free thinking, to this extent is encouraged. To the extent that corporate facilities can reasonably be provided to foster this effort, those facilities should be made available to those wishing to embark on these initiatives.

Initiate training programs that benefit the corporation and the individual

There are some skill sets that, if acquired, develop the individual and can contribute to increasing the productivity and effectiveness of the corporation at the same time. These include; training for various purposes such as; speech making, creative thinking, or computer training, etc. The individual benefits and so does the corporation.

Prescribe a time allotment for company-related personal interests

Often referred to as ‘bootlegging’, this understanding between manager and subordinate—endorsed by senior management and open to anyone in the corporation– is a method of responding to an individuals passion for a particular idea and at the same time putting some constraints on the level of resource provided (by making time available) by the corporation. Such a policy i.e. for people to spend time on their interests as long there is a thread of corporate relevance to the idea, is conducive to an innovative culture . Try 15% of time.