Genentech, number 7 on the Fortune Magazine 2009 100 Best Companies To Work For, has worked hard and long to create and maintain a culture that puts a premium on curiosity and creativity.
In the October 12, 2009 issue of Fortune Magazine, Richard Scheller, head of research for Genentech, explains how the company keeps innovation flowing:
- Refresh Talent Often. The postdoc program keeps a constant flux of young people with different backgrounds and technologies moving through Genentech. This keeps the real innovative, entrepreneurial, creative spirit around Genentech research. It rubs off on everyone in the group.
- Encourage Risk Taking. People are encouraged to work on projects that are high risk. We expect that the projects might not work – in fact, most of them won’t. But those that do work often end up being true breakthroughs.
- Share Your Results. We always have a number of key papers in the top scientific journals every year, comparable to major institutions around the world, such as MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. So the outside world has respect for Genentech that is quite different from that for other pharmaceutical companies.
Refresh talent often. Encourage risk taking. Share your results. Three critical leadership strategies that will pay handsome dividends to any and all organizations and leaders who have the discipline and courage to create and maintain a culture that puts a premium on curiosity and creativity.
So what about your leadership? Here is a powerful question for all leaders… including you and me. In confidential conversations, would your team and colleagues enthusiastically agree that your leadership priorities and behaviors consistently encourage and reward refreshing talent often, risk taking and sharing results of important information and lessons learned?
The best leaders learn from the best leaders! The question above is a powerful leadership question worthy of serious thought, careful examination and appropriate leadership adjustments, when and where necessary.
And now, of course, it is up to you…