Clint McKoy


"Man's inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively."

Innovation, Character, and Culture Pt.2

This post is part 2 of a series on innovation, culture, and character (read part 1). Let's talk a little more about innovation and how it relates to character. 

Innovation and character go hand in hand. What is character exactly? Character consists of a person's mental and moral qualities. Innovative people are folks with a certain type of thinking, or rather, a mentality with particular focus and values. The cool thing is, anyone can develop more of an innovative character.

So what does an innovative disposition look like?

An innovative person tends to have these qualities:

  • self starter
  • "gets things done" mentality
  • empathetic
  • an ability to forge great relationships
  • singular focus on producing great end results
  • is not concerned with rules and processes
  • sees the big picture
  • an innate ability to simplify
  • capable of effectively communicating ideas

Where's your focus?

Game-changers possess a certain focus that allows them to accomplish things that others only dream of. They step out and take chances, not because they consider themselves better or more privileged than anyone else, but because they're opportunists. They can't not take the opportunity before them.

Revolutionaries have a beautiful vision in mind and stop at nothing to accomplish that end goal. They are focused on taking any little (or big) thing they have to work with and doing something amazing with it. If even the slightest hint of an opportunity comes along, it will be taken or sleep will be lost.

Inventive folks hardly notice the things that stop most people from moving forward and instead blow past obstacles, hacking their way to something beautiful.

Relationships are key.

Innovative thinkers know that games can't be changed alone! They are empathetic, they truly care for others and are able to engage in a believable, sincere way. People who accomplish extraordinary things don't usually possess all the talents necessary to create the end product. Instead, they hold the vision and are able to call upon the right people with the right talents at the right time. They're able to take all of the needed parts, make them cohesive, and create the right workflow that produces the desired end result. And this is all done by people, fueled by great relationships.  

Note that game changers don't get hung up on everyone's opinion about every detail, but they are concerned with the end goal, good relationships, knowing other's strengths, and when to call on that particular person for advice.

Thinking about the end user.

Again, innovative people are empathetic. They are able to forget all of the feature sheets, business requirements, and legal stipulations and put themselves in the shoes of the end user. They're able to envision the ideal experience and then figure out how to make that experience happen in the real world.

Character is king.

Vision, empathy, engaging relationships, and an unwavering focus on the end result while ignoring all of the things that try to stop you along the way. These are all key to possessing an innovative character. And it's not easy. Things and people will get in your way - your focus will be shifted - it will take a lot of work to keep your vision pure. But it is possible!

In part 3, we'll talk about how what an innovative culture looks like and how to get there.