Factor 6: Management of People

This factor concerns the emphasis on management of people and their interactions.

Factor extremes as measured in survey:

Leaders put little emphasis on the management of people and their interactions


Leaders put strong emphasis on the management of people and their interactions

Overview to restructuring initiatives

Management is often reluctant to create opportunities for employees to get together, preferring to organize around the line organization and have an ‘efficient’ process of management. Establishing committees, task forces, special project groups, can be seen as simply slowing the management process down and inviting too much discussion. On the other hand, the benefit derived by such grouping actions can be significant in the development of ideas and their ultimate acceptance within the corporation. In the end the added meetings etc. can pay dividends as those in the organization align themselves with the pronounced direction for the company. There is a need for balance. The trick is to modify the way in which people are organized and how they communicate with a view to creating a more dynamic and fluid organization without introducing needless time-wasting meetings.

Factor #6 is one of the 8 most important building blocs to support corporate innovation.

Possible Initiatives to Modify and Improve the Culture for Innovation

Deliberately move people around

Make it a policy to rotate employees, for example from a field position to a lab or from factory to field. If there is a situation developing such as a new marketing or engineering initiative, make it a practice to rotate employees for the duration of the project or for longer terms. When there are challenges to be met, develop mechanisms to involve many employees in the idea generation activities. Deliberately cross-train employees in several functional areas.

Create special internal and external forums

Internal trade shows, where divisions or departments can strut their stuff is a good way to create more awareness of innovativeness in the corporation and to challenge groups to put on a good show for fellow corporate employees.

Establish company-wide programs that bring people together from all parts of the organization as, for example, introducing the need to acquire ISO 9000 qualifications or learning new approaches to Total Quality Management. Organize meetings to take place in both company and personal time. The programs may evolve over some years and therefore present long-term opportunities to engage people.

Personnel development training opportunities such as public speaking initiatives aimed at improving an individuals skills are applicable both to business and personal life and can be rewarding to both parties.

User conferences and roundtables represent opportunities to bring key customers and suppliers into meeting other company employees that otherwise would not have the chance to make those connections. Similarly cross-country technical presentations, the establishment of special issue networks, and designated knowledge centers overlaid on the regular corporation, can provide cross training and awareness.

Breakdown the traditional communication channels

Establish a people-whose-birthdays-are-on day to meet with the C.E.O for lunch. Organize, by way of a random selection of individuals, opportunities for rank and file to meet senior management and discuss topics of interest. Regular employee attitude surveys are one means of generating topics for discussions in such groups. Regular meetings in the company cafeteria, with full management attendance is another way of knocking down corporate silos. Encourage cross-over meetings between union and non-union personnel. Establish ‘sport days’ with and without family members.