Company culture by innovation cycle

Yesterday, I posted a topic about the innovation cycle. I’ve been to over 500 companies and I’ve seen some patterns of behavior depending on where companies are at in that cycle. That’s important because people generally are happy at companies within the same stages.

Invention/Innovation – Loosely structured, relaxed, flat management structure, get it done, don’t worry about the clock attitudes. Lower pay, lesser benefits, more ping pong tables, and less offices. Everything is on a tight budget. Creativity and versatility are usually valued.

Propagation – This is where usually you see more structure built. Fast growth, ability to move up in the company quickly. Forming of a hierarchy within company. Growing perks like budgets for new equipment. Ambition and aggressiveness are usually valued. 

Competition – When a space starts to get crowded, it’s time to try to stand out. This is where the industry starts to differentiate things. In a more industrial setting, this may mean older buildings, cost cutting, etc. In technology, it may mean fancier offices, more attempts to impress clientele. Organization and process building are usually valued.

Maturity – This is the widest range. Some times this means huge coffers of cash like Apple. Other times it means keeping the lights on by remaining the cheapest. This is where companies are more about process, people know what tasks are theirs, what they need to do, and how things should flow. These are machines. Doing your tasks is valued above most. 

These are all broad strokes, and they aren’t fixed. innovations and company leadership can shift companies from one to the other depending on new services they offer.