2. Don’t kill your culture by stifling creativity Featured

8:00pm EDT October 26, 2009

If you’ve built a culture of innovation, keeping it can become a delicate balancing act. If you push too hard, you may deny creativity by forcing people down one path. But if you let people do their own thing without checks in place, you may lose consistency.

At The ACT•1 Group of Cos., a staffing, human resources and management solutions company that employs more than 1,700 people, founder and CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd views a good culture as a book that everyone works from. There are core elements to the plot that everyone understands — the need to grow personally and professionally and the desire for creativity, for example — but people aren’t always reading it at the same speed or at the same time.

“Leaders need to appreciate the opportunity they have to promote an evergreen environment,” Howroyd says. “… Region to region, my organization may be on different pages of the same book, but the important thing for me is that we are all following the same processes, we all have the same tools and we all are able to respond at the local customer level.”

By setting the tone for a creative culture and then fostering it, Howroyd says, for example, that you can’t be too nitpicky if the leader of your financial group doesn’t have as lively of a leadership style as the head of your marketing group.

“Differences in leadership style doesn’t have to be an issue,” she says. “It can be something that is just a part of how we experience diversity.”