THRIVE's Innovative Culture Blog

Flight Of The Buffalo2In Flight of the Buffalo, Ralph Stayer - Owner of Johnsonville Sausage, talks about how organizational success comes with a shift from herd mentality to high-flying innovation.

“Weighted down by old leadership paradigms, managers act like herd buffalo, charging blindly ahead in fits and starts, urging the herd to follow. But hard-driving managers and their herds suffer the same fate as the buffalo of the plains: they are outmaneuvered by the more nimble, quick-thinking competition and predators in today's fast-paced global economic landscape. In the new, highly flexible organization, the manager learns and grows while responding to changing circumstances."

"Instead of a herd, people become more like a flight of self-directed geese flying in formation. Everyone knows the common direction, is willing to assume leadership when necessary, and can rearrange the structure when the needs of the customer demand it. Individuals start to do their jobs better not because some leader orders it, but because they want to excel. In other words, letting employees lead produces new levels of excellence that benefit everyone.”



How the 125-year-old Hershey Company Continues to Innovate


Click to ready the article at 



Innovation Meets Impact

Innovation 2Innovation in business tends to center around developing ideas and taking action faster than the competition. This type of innovation fails to motivate and engage people because it lacks meaningful change and does not make it personal. What drives people to be innovative? IMPACT! People need to feel personally invested in the goals and vision of an organization, and understand the purpose behind innovative efforts.

When innovation meets impact, it leads to growth and success.

Having a long-term view of innovation which focuses on impact is a more meaningful measure of success for most people. This means building a sustainable innovative and impactful culture that won't burn out.

  • Promote a growth mindset that leads to a desire to experiment and create positive change. This will help those who are resistant to change view change as an asset, and see how it is necessary to meet current and future customer needs and expectations.
  • Encourage team participation in the development of innovation strategies to invest them personally. Persuade people to express themselves, examine assumptions and ask questions.
  • Put a focus on not only solving problems, but preventing problems. Challenge people to look at things from different perspectives, take something that works and make it even better.

An innovative culture supports and sustains the efforts and ideas of many over time.

Stepping Stones



If You Want To Build An Innovative Culture, You Need These 4 Things

Click to read article at by Greg Satell, Author, Mapping Innovation

Innovative Culture



An Operational Excellence Facilitator's Observations about Culture

Guest Contributor: Bill Kime, Operational Excellence Facilitator & President of One More Turn, LLC
Over my career, I have had the privilege of touring some of the best lean companies in the country. Without exception, these companies all demonstrated an extraordinary culture. What does a great lean culture look like (from my perspective)?

Culture can be seen and felt. It is expressed in:

  • Trust and open communications, both verbal and non-verbal, that defy any boundaries of an organizational chart.
  • The way team members feel about the work they do and what avenues are available to challenge the status quo.
  • Communication systems that cater to the team members and provide status information to the leaders.
  • Leaders who are there to help people succeed in their goals and who are regularly present (with purpose) where the work is done. They consistently offer support which includes asking for input and offering a simple thank you or congratulations.

MfgDuring my visits to to observe and assess, I would enter through a non-visitor entrance. I would attempt to connect with team members, noting whether they were responsive and engaged or noticeably disengaged. I made a point of observing all forms of communication - where team members work, meet and congregate, noting whether they were up-to-date, focused on the audience, and easy to understand. I would observe safety, cleanliness and environmental issues. I learned that these observations spoke to issues of trust and whether these companies valued their team members.

A positive, engaging culture is the starting point for a great lean organization, and is necessary for them to sustain their continuous improvement initiatives and attain operational excellence.

Attract and Retain Millennials with a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Click on the link below to read THRIVE's article in Insight on Manufacturing.

Insight On Mfg 2