This byline originally appeared on Fortune.
Instilling creative thinking within an organization as it grows is one of the key differentiators that turns small companies into big ones and big ones into market leaders. As companies grow—especially in the technology sector—it’s important for them to balance the need to maintain what’s been built with the need to encourage new ideas and innovations. Growth requires structure, process, and discipline to operate the business in a stable way, but also requires the organization to think creatively—even disruptively—about new problems that emerge. In our technology organization, that balancing act is top of mind, and there are three principles we follow to keep us on our toes:
Embrace a mindset of change
It starts with understanding and really embracing the fact that nothing is ever done. With whatever product we put out, customers will always want enhancements and competitors will try to outdo. Whatever internal system we’ve adopted or code we’ve written, something will come along that can do it better or faster. Whatever today’s answers are, they will eventually reach their limits, so it’s everyone’s job to be ready for what’s next. It’s not just our product that’s on version 2.0, but our hardware, our code base, our organizational structure, our individual skills—everything. Embracing change establishes a fluid and creative mindset and a focus on always getting better. We try to learn how other companies do things. We try out new computer languages and methodologies. We reserve 80 hours per employee each year for training and learning on any topics of their choosing.
We’ve learned from experience that not everyone thinks this way. We’ve seen employees wedded to a particular answer, unable to change their thought process or approach, while opportunity pass
es by. We know that’s not a good fit, and so we look for a change-embracing mindset when recruiting at every level.
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