"I have one of the best jobs in the world. I
get to hang out with some of the most talented,
committed people around, and
together we get to play in this sandbox and build these cool products.
is an incredibly collaborative company. You know how many committees we have
at Apple? Zero. We're
structured like a start-up. We're the biggest
on the planet. And we all meet once a week to discuss our business," said
Steve Jobs at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference.
Winning Corporate Culture
Silicon Valley firms have flat and
participative management structures In a meeting rooms at most
Silicon Valley companies, the mix of people, expertise, and ages is
striking. More importantly, the degree of candor is tremendous. You don't
expect to find such level of frankness in hierarchical companies.
Freedom To Fail
In more direct cultures, such as Intel or Sun
Microsystems, you can witness easily an intense argument between a senior
executive and an entry-level engineer. Status and seniority aren't based on
age or position; they're based on what you know and can deliver...
run the company by
questions, not by answers," says Eric Schmidt, the CEO of
ask it as a
question, rather than a pithy answer, and that stimulates
conversation. Out of the conversation comes
innovation. Innovation is not something that I just wake up one day and
say 'I want to innovate.' I think you get a better innovative culture if you
ask it as a question."...
Jack Welch's goal was to make GE "the world's most competitive
enterprise." He knew that the the current business environment requires an
energized, energizing leader: "You've got to be live action all day. And
you've got to be able to
Your cannot be this thoughtful, in-the-corner-office guru. You cannot be a
moderate, balanced, thoughtful, careful articulator of policy. You've got to be
on the lunatic fringe," urged Jack Welch.
Welch urged everybody to
stretch. Stretch targets energize. "We have found that by reaching
for what appears to be the impossible, we often actually do the impossible;
and even when we don't quite make it, we inevitably wind up doing much
better than we would have done."...
a long heritage of
new technologies and
businesses. It presents an excellent example of harnessing the benefits
in-company ventures and the
business systems approach
to new product development and
Research, development, and the
process are the lifeblood of Corning. It is an integral part of its
Corning is oriented around
innovation, built on
Imagination" is a corporate
that embodies literal truth...
– Questioning Everything
"I wish it were possible for me to interact
with everyone at Dell as I used to. But it's not possible to scale the
number of interactions to be consistent with the growth of the company",
Michael Dell, the Founder of the
Dell Inc. "We've found there are, however things you can do to bridge
the distance between you and your people in a larger organization, and
fast-paced, flexible culture that's a source of
we manage to maintain the attitude of a challenger, even as we continue to
grow at record speeds? Culture is, by far, one of the most enigmatic facets
of management that I've encountered. The best way I know to establish and
maintain a healthy, competitive culture is to
partner with your people – through shared objectives and a common
"Mobilize your people around a singe goal. All
done in pursuit of one goal: finding the next frontier of
that we can create for our customers...
Make failure acceptable as long as it creates
opportunities. There's no risk in preserving the status quo – but
Making Innovation the Norm
When asked 'What's the one thing you've done
that most inspired innovation in your organization?'7 Craig
Wynett, the General Manager of Future Growth Initiatives at P&G answered
'What we've done to encourage innovation is make it ordinary. By that I mean
we don't separate it from the rest of our business. Many companies make
innovation front-page news, and all that special attention has a paradoxical
effect. By serving it up as something exotic, you isolate it from what's
normal. You don't trumpet your ordinary business. The same has to be true of
innovation. For innovation to be reliable, it needs to be addressed
systematically, like any business issue in which you define the problem
and then solve it."...
11 Guiding Principles