Vistage Research Center

Get actionable, data-driven insights and expert perspectives from our global community of CEOs and thought leaders. Led by Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer

Innovate to Thrive (Part 7)…Training & Coaching

Proper hiring, training and coaching is the way to create, reinforce and enhance company culture and mindset.

This attitude needs to come from the top and, in our most admired firms, frequently represents the ethos of the founder. Human resources can work magic for your New Product Development (NPD) efforts (Innovate to Thrive NPD see Part 3) , by helping you slot the right people in the slots that suit them – and you.

Ongoing reinforcement of this attitude and spirit is essential, to help employees understand their place in the NPD team, and give their best. Continuity is the key, while training helps your team constantly improve its skill set, through new techniques in ideation, process experience and intra-organizational communication of best practices.

Innovative companies, by the way, are not necessarily created by establishing a discrete – Department of Innovation.On the contrary, it’s important for the company to be innovative. These are organizations where being open- minded is a positive attribute, not a threat. In many industries, such as fashion and personal care products, the key company driver is – innovation. That is the common denominator and it is frequently the mantra of the company founder, who creates, maintains – ok, demands – that unique culture. I have frequently found category leaders that develop Centers of Innovation and train, and retrain, executives on project management basics.

And the basis of this successful innovation? A natural curiosity, open- mindedness, an ability to see the big picture – combined with hard-headed business acumen. Or, and it bears repeating, a left-brain/right-brain approach.

Continuous Training and Coaching is Essential to Innovation

In order for any company to meet its goals and to achieve sustainable Innovation , proper training and coaching is an essential though often overlooked imperative. But how can a New Product Development (NPD) team represent the philosophy of its organization if the attitude, culture and processes are not continually reinforced? Proper hiring, training and coaching is essential to finding and keeping the right people for the right job – and having them trained in their role and processes on the NPD team in order to perform their personal best.

Training and coaching doesn’t stop after the initial phase. Continuity is key. New techniques, processes and best practices should always be shared to foster a constant culture of Innovation. From top to bottom, from executives to managers to newcomers, everyone must be included in training and coaching programs to be on the same page and for the New Product Development process to go as smoothly as possible. In fact, even the trainers and coaches themselves need ongoing training and coaching to prevent their practices from going stale. Sustained Innovation is a constantly evolving process.

It is not without reason that Whirlpool Corporation established that the “How To” training is the most important need for corporate Innovation to succeed, from top to bottom. At Whirlpool, innovative thinking is considered the responsibility of each of its 80,000 employees. They continue to be the primary source for new ideas that meet consumer needs. It’s such an important part of their culture that they have a corporate initiative in place to sustain the commitment company-wide.

To reinforce and enhance a creative company culture and mindset, effective training and coaching must not be forgotten. Any company that wants to stay in business needs a sustainable Innovation program. Here are some Training and Coaching tips to help your product development process:

– Share the Joy: As well as the frustrations – communicate what is working and not working.

– Pick the Right Coaches: Not everyone has the psychological makeup to be the coach.  Knowledge is key, obviously.  But the coach needs to be able to motivate, mediate, and create camaraderie and a sense of selflessness.

– The One-On-One Touch: Individual coaching provides the privacy and attention that breeds success.  I’ve found that discussions regarding areas for improvement are received and acted upon much better in a private session, away from peers listening in.  This can be especially critical with new employees and/or team members.

– Basics First: Make certain project management basics are taught, applied and re-taught.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Predefined Skins

Primary Color

Background Color

Example Patterns

demo demo demo demo demo demo demo demo demo demo

Privacy Policy Settings

  • Required Cookies
  • Performance Cookies
  • Functional Cookies
  • Advertising Cookies
These cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around the Sites and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the Sites and using Vistage’s Services. Since these cookies are essential to operate Vistage’s Sites and Services, there is no option to opt out of these cookies.
These cookies collect information about how visitors our Sites, for instance which pages visitors go to most often. These cookies don’t collect information that identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

Cookies used

Visual Web Optimizer
These cookies remember information you have entered or choices you make (e.g. as your username, language, or your region), and provide enhanced, more personal features. They may also be used to provide services you have asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies then some or all of these services may not function properly.

Cookies used

Google Analytics
Gravity Forms
These cookies are used to make advertising more relevant to you and your interests. The cookies are usually placed by third party advertising networks. They remember the websites you visit and that information is shared with other parties such as advertisers. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.