Is culture something your firm is examining these days or is it rarely, if ever, discussed at all? In my almost 12 years with CIMS, inevitably it comes down to “The Culture” and the state of its health within a firm and how that organization’s leaders must utilize culture to surmount their innovation challenges.
In our experience, management that recognizes culture’s importance and are willing to make any necessary changes will leapfrog those competitors who aren’t willing to acknowledge that sustainable competitive advantage is unlikely without an appropriately aligned and engaged culture.
At the risk of stating the obvious, culture equals people; if your “people” aren’t on board, marketplace success will elude you no matter how great your strategy or excellent the roadmap. CIMS Research Associate Stephen K. Markham says it best: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast every day.”
Over our Center’s history, we have expended a great deal of time and funding on research oriented to a culture supporting innovation. It is through that research and the application of the findings in executive education and coaching that we have been able to create a unique tool to assess a firm’s Value Innovation Quotient and to adapt other available tools to make specific culture measurements.
The Value Innovation Quotient, or VIQ, indicates the strength of a firm’s innovation culture. It and other tools have not been available, before now, without charge or for use “at will.” Today, however, I’m delighted to report that Prof. Roger Mayer has presented CIMS with an opportunity that could just change that and—for you sports fans—be a hat trick of scores.
Mayer teaches in the Jenkins MBA Program in NC State’s Poole College of Management. Every semester he offers MBAs a course on “People Management.” This course (530) focuses on the management of people in organizations and covers a lot of ground: processes of staffing, motivating and managing within the cultures of technology-intensive organizations; aspects of leadership; diagnosis of organizational culture; conflict management and negotiation; and innovation and change management.
As part of the course requirement, the students are put on teams and tasked to assist a firm for the semester with a “people management” challenge for our member and partner firms to engage with some of his student teams. (There is also direct benefit for the students, the firms that participate and CIMS in the collection of data that can be used in future research and benchmarking—hence the hat trick!)
Although we thought this was great, we expanded the scope of the opportunity to expose and make available several of our cultural assessments for each of the student teams to use regardless of whether their firm is a current member or partner of CIMS.
In order to get everyone up-to-speed and familiar with the resources available to them for this course through the CIMS–MBA 530 partnership, we hosted a CIMS Culture Assessment/Tools Brain Boot camp on Sept. 10. In addition to myself and our executive director, Paul Mugge, and Prof. Mayer, we had special guest participation by IBM senior vice president, Sue Horn and TrueParallel president, Mark Rosenberg.
Two of our very own subject matter experts spoke at the boot camp; April Cantwell and Vicente Moranta. They introduced the students to research protocol and the difference between a survey, assessment and questionnaire - in addition to the actual tools we have made available. Cantwell and Moranta took the students through nine tools that we are excitedly making available to be used during their semester-long company project.
Nine Tools for the Course
The nine tools can be classified into two types of application or data collection: Organizational/Group or Individual. They are:
The Value Innovation Quotient, VIQ (organizational/group): measures culture of innovation within an organization.
Internal Customer Satisfaction (organizational/group): a tool to help read how satisfied internal customers of an organization are.
Self-monitoring Score (individual & or oriented project. The opportunity Mayer has given CIMS is the chance organizational/group): ability to adjust one’s own behavior based on the situation and/or the behavior of the others.
Tolerance for Ambiguity Scale (individual & organizational/group): ability to function within an ambiguous situation.
Motivation Scale (individual & organizational/group): ability to motivate others.
Emotional Intelligence Scale (individual & organizational/group): ability to learn from others/experience, walk in others’ shoes, think about the impact you may have on others and whether or not you may share too much information.
Strategies for Handling Conflict (individual & organizational/group): indicates whether your style is effective, whether your group may need specific training in handling conflict, etc.
Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) (individual & organizational/ group): mapping and measurement of relationships and flows between entities in an organization.
Personal Network Assessment (PNA) (individual): examine your own network to become more effective, identifying: limits imposed by “comfort zones,” over-dependencies and expertise gaps.
Subject Matter Experts
April Cantwell is a Ph.D. graduate of NC State University’s Industrial/ Organizational Psychology program Department and has worked with CIMS for the past eight years, in various research projects including both the research used to create the VIQ with Prof. Lynda Aiman-Smith as well as work we have conducted in studying boundary spanners. Additionally, she has worked with our members through executive education and coaching offerings.
Vicente Moranta is a graduate of the Jenkins MBA Program, a Sr. Manager of Mid-Range Disk Storage & NAS Solutions at IBM and a member of our executive education faculty. He has conducted numerous joint research projects, with Poole Prof. John McCreery in the area of personal and organizational network analysis.
Learn More at Upcoming CIMS Meeting
As part of this partnership, each of the current semester’s student teams will participate in the CIMS welcome reception, Oct. 25, with a poster capturing their company project and the challenge they are addressing. In addition, each CIMS meeting will highlight the best completed student project from the previous semester. This year’s fall meeting will feature the best project from the Spring 2011 course, on the morning of Oct. 26.
Don’t you agree that your firm would benefit from participating in this partnership and learning from both the talented and diverse students of the Jenkins MBA program and the CIMS culture tools? Then please contact me at email@example.com.
And naturally I hope to see you at our upcoming fall meeting in Raleigh at the Marriott City Center on the 25th–27th, as well as at the BioSciences Forum on Friday Oct.28 at the NC Biotechnology Center. To learn more and to register, please see our event page at http:// cims.ncsu.edu.