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President's Behavior is a Key Factor in Creating a Culture of Innovation

What separates companies with strong relationships among their leaders from other companies?

October 28, 2016

In our previous article, "How to Create a Culture of Innovation?"(*1), we found that strong relationships among senior executives and managers ("leaders"), built by sufficient communication, is one of the most important factors in creating a culture of innovation.

Here we have a related question: In companies with strong relationships among their leaders, what kind of behaviors do their Presidents demonstrate?

From our database, we analyzed 39 companies and looked for the behavioral characteristics of the Presidents in companies with strong relationships among their leaders.

First, we classified the companies into two groups. Group A contains companies with strong relationships among their leaders and Group B contains companies with weak relationships (*2). When we compared the Presidents' behaviors in each group, we found several significant differences (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Percentage of Presidents in each group that demonstrate specific behavior items (Top 5 significant differences between Group A and Group B)
No. Behavior Items Number of presidents in each group (in percentage) that demonstrate specific behavior items(*3)
Group A. Companies with strong relationship among their leaders
(21 companies)
Group B. Companies with weak relationship among their leaders
(18 companies)
1 Communicating an ideal picture of the organization
2 Providing suggestion
3 Acquiring business resources
4 Fulfilling commitments
5 Articulating messages

*2 The classification is based on responses gained from indirect reports to the question "There is sufficient communication among managers". Companies that scored higher than average are classified into Group A and those lower into Group B.

*3 Number of Presidents in each group (shown by percentage) that score more than 5.0 (responses from direct reports on a 7-point scale (1: Completely disagree - 7: Very much agree)) for each item.
Number of samples: 39 Presidents from 39 companies; 503 leaders (direct reports - mainly senior executives, managers); 5,243 indirect reports.

Survey by Coaching Research Institute LLP, 2016

From this comparison, we can infer that these behaviors demonstrated by Presidents help them in creating stronger relationships among their leaders. On top of this, we can also say that in most cases, companies whose Presidents do not perform these five behaviors above have weak relationships among their leaders. In particular, ninety percent of Presidents in companies with strong relationships among their leaders demonstrate the following three behaviors:

1. Communicating an ideal picture of the organization
The President communicates an ideal picture of the organization.

4. Fulfilling commitments
If the President commits to something, he will definitely put it into practice.

5. Articulating messages
What the President says is easy for her subordinates to understand.

We can see from this data that these three items are the most important behaviors in creating stronger relationships among leaders within the companies.

From our previous research (*1), we learned that strong relationships among leaders have a deep connection with creating a culture of innovation. In addition to this, we also learned that the President's behaviors can help their companies to create stronger relationships among their leaders. Thus, we can conclude that one key to creating a culture of innovation within a firm lies in the President's behaviors.

In your company, does the President contribute to creating a culture of innovation?

*1 "How to Create a Culture of Innovation?"
No. of samples: leaders of 32 companies
Period: September 2011 - February 2015
Survey method: Web-based survey
Survey tool: Executive Mindset Inventory

Research Overview

Number of samples:39 presidents from 39 companies; 503 leaders (direct reports mainly senior executives, managers); 5,243 indirect reports.
Period: September 2011-July 2016
Survey method:Web survey
Survey tool:Executive Mindset Inventory (Leadership)

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