CHAPTER 12 COHESION We're all in this together

Of all the variables Samuel Hunter and his colleagues identified in their meta-analysis, the number one driver of innovation culture is one that academics refer to as ‘positive interpersonal exchange'. What this translates to in practice is an organisation where all employees feel a sense of togetherness — as if they are all working as one big team towards a larger goal. There is minimal conflict (except for the healthy type of debate discussed in chapter 4), and people work together harmoniously. Of all the variables that Hunter and his team explored, this one is arguably the hardest to achieve. It is not something that any one individual can change on his or her own, unlike many of the other variables discussed in this book. It is something that needs to be led from the top, but also driven from the bottom.

In a review of several meta-analyses Silvia da Costa, from the University of the Basque Country, and several of her colleagues looked at the impact of cohesion across employees within an organisation. The researchers found that when cohesion is high, 65 per cent of people will demonstrate above-average creativity and innovation in their performance. In contrast, only 32 per cent of people working in organisations with low levels of cohesion will show above-average innovativeness.

Innovation programs, when executed well, can be great unifiers and drivers of cohesion. They allow everyone to have a voice and unite people in solving ...

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