I have the privilege recently to work with a technology company that has one of their three core values as innovative. In renewing their values this year we hit a speed bump. When we got to the definition we started to struggle because we realized that the company kept bumping up against this value in excess. Are we too innovative? Sometimes, because it is a true operating value. An operating value is something we do without thinking about it. It does not need to be stated on a poster (although we do) – we just live it! And at times it costs us money chasing down innovation at a cost of operational excellence. If we really admit it to ourselves we don’t really care – we just love to explore ideas to make things better.
When you consider the values in your company do you consider them in terms of bounded or unbounded values. If you believe in honesty and define the value like West Point Academy does, “You will not lie, cheat, steel or tolerate it from others.” If you lived the world to that extreme you may have no friends – haven’t we all behaved outside of this value at some point in time?
Can being innovative to the extreme become a total competitive disadvantage and does that really matter to you?