Huge Business Success & Employee Morale: Opposites or Essential Partners?

Huge Business Success: Can You Innovate & Have Great Morale?

Leaders, do you see employee morale and huge business success as a contradictory? Are you concerned that a focus on employee morale will dull that edge to succeed?

Huge Business Success: Image is light bulb w/ tree inside.

Huge Business Success & Morale: Opposites or Essential Partners? Image by MattWalker69 via Flickr.

Image by Mattwalker69 via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Huge Business Success & Great Employee Morale: Yes You Can!

As we hear about the workplace culture in the news, it raises the question of employee morale in highly innovative environments. Can you have both? Yes.

The challenge is not huge business success vs. great employee morale. It isn’t high innovation vs. employee morale.

The challenge is the belief that innovation and huge business success require an internal culture of cutthroat competition. It’s not a requirement. It’s a choice that leaders make often from their natural work style preference.

Collaborative Innovation vs. Competitive Innovation

  1. Innovation taps diverse talents and ideas to create a successful change. Collaborative innovation respects the innovators while challenging their ideas. Employee morale soars as people are engaged together. Competitive innovation focuses on challenging ideas without a focus on respect. Employees who thrive on competition love this. The morale of the others can falter.

  2. Innovation is risk taking. Collaborative innovation minimizes the risk of personal attack while engaging in the risk of innovation. It can produces huge business success with great employee morale. Competitive innovation often minimizes human respect believing it minimizes the risk of business failure. It doesn’t since great employee morale is necessary to sustain spurts of success into long term business success.

How to Transition

Given this difference between competitive and collaborative innovation, how can you as leaders move from one to the other?

  • Review this list of leadership beliefs that kill collaborative innovation. Change any that have infected your organization’s morale.

  • Make a clear distinction between competing with other companies vs. competing with each other internally. Unite in human respect and innovate to compete with other companies.

  • Get over the myth that natural collaborators are weaklings who lack confidence. See the confidence and strength they use in innovating without attacking others. They challenge ideas with civility and respect.

  • Teach and explore the power of ‘what if’. Collaborative innovation soars when you ask ‘what if’ instead of labeling someone’s idea as wrong. Great questions spur huge business success. Labels squelch it.

Remember …

Your Turn: What morale sustaining phrases do you use when innovating?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:

Two Magic Words for Collaborative Innovation
Leaders, Are You Harsh or Strong?

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Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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4 Responses to “Huge Business Success & Employee Morale: Opposites or Essential Partners?”

  1. Alli Polin says:

    In one of my last corporate positions, I was the VP of People and Innovation – focused on building a great place to work where innovation could thrive. Unfortunately, other divisions thought that there was only room for one group to lead the innovation charge and they took every opportunity to undermine us. Senior leadership thought that the “winners” would rise. Unfortunately, when internal conflict gets in the way of collaborative innovation, everyone loses.


    Thanks, Kate!

    ~ Alli

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Well Alli you are not alone in what you went through. This belief that internal competition makes the business better is a legacy with a long reach and life.

      There are enlightened leaders who see the fallacy in this belief and are changing things up. Let’s continue to spread the word!

  2. G says:

    Kate, this is a really interesting point of tension, and one that we’ve been exploring a lot in the CS tech space. We’ve been discussing it with our community in the context of support automation, which is obviously an efficiency tool. But does it actually threaten CS agents’ jobs or is it changing the nature of the field and creating new career opportunities along the way? Our writer Kayla recently wrote about it here:

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Well it is a longtime debate G. Whether AI replaces people and makes them lose their jobs. I think it comes down to intentions. If leadership and management use AI tools to lower costs and reduce headcount, then the answer is yes. If they develop their employees to do higher order functions and do not reduce headcount, then the answer is no. There have been trends that show the former is more true. However, we need to keep watching to see if it was just an early trend.

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