When a firm’s leaders foster an empowering environment that values and trusts employees, exhibit bold leadership that serves as a beacon for equality, and take deliberate and comprehensive actions to support diversity, inclusion, and bias-free policies, that firm will be well on its way to a culture of equality. A culture of equality is foundational to enabling an innovation mindset among the employee base. As I explained in my previous post, this effort will put your firm on the right path to the ongoing, disruptive, creative innovation you must continually nurture to survive and thrive in the current economic environment.

A roadmap to unleash innovation

The starting place for creating a culture of equality and an innovation mindset is a strong inclusion and diversity strategy. The following three blended elements act as drivers for this strategy:

  1. An empowering environment combined with purpose and
  2. Bold leadership combined with experimentation and
  3. Comprehensive action combined with inspiration and

These three element combinations work together, reinforcing each other in a cyclical way to create a greater impact than any one element can generate on its own. The suggestions that follow can help you amplify these factors to guide your firm to a culture of equality and an innovation mindset.

Empowering environment plus purpose plus autonomy

Seventy percent of the gains you’ll make in driving an innovation mindset will come from empowering your employees through training, flexibility, and a commitment to work-life balance that gives them a sense of shared purpose and helps them reach their full potential. You can achieve this by:

  • Helping employees align their work with the organisation’s mission and vision.
  • Committing to and setting the example for work-life balance.
  • Equipping employees with the skills they’ll need for the future.

Embracing inclusion in every form.

Bold leadership plus experimentation plus resources

Leaders must walk the talk of inclusion and diversity. Measurable, transparent accountability is an essential step. Employees must also have the freedom to experiment without fear of failure. This type of leadership is made real through:

  • Prioritising and committing to solid diversity, equal pay, and advancement targets.
  • Tracking progress toward achieving those targets, with leaders holding accountability for results.
  • Designing the work environment to facilitate innovation.
  • Committing to an environment in which mistakes are opportunities to learn.

Comprehensive action plus inspiration plus collaboration

A culture of equality and an innovation mindset must be much more than a theory or a goal. You can make your efforts concrete and demonstrable through the following actions:

  • Put a stake in the ground with firm, progressive policies such as parental leave for both men and women.
  • Support knowledge sharing and skill development through cross-training and cross-functional teams.
  • Nurture collaborative and supportive networks.
  • Expand beyond your firm by encouraging external networking and knowledge sharing.

Companies that have applied these concepts and practices are seeing very good results, both financially and by enriching employees’ and stakeholders’ lives through empowerment and innovation. Any steps your firm takes to create an empowered culture of equality will put it further on the path to driving innovation. This in turn will help your company survive and thrive while bringing greater rewards to all your constituents.

To learn more about creating a culture of equality, read the Accenture report, Getting to Equal 2019: Creating a Culture That Drives Innovation


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