What are the Critical Components of a Cutting-Edge Culture?

To create an innovative product or service, we need a team that works well together. That means we need to create a cutting-edge culture in our organization. How do we do that?

Those that follow me know I work to help individuals and organizations think bigger and reach higher to do what others never thought possible. This often includes creating a culture of compassion to engage and empower teams to become disruptive leaders. When we take the effort to care and connect, we can collaborate and create the ultimate performance, production and profits. 

What are the Components to a Cutting-Edge Culture?

Cutting-Edge Culture

Creating a product or service does something no one else has done. For many, it is doing what others consider “impossible.” To be on that cutting edge requires that we do things differently. After all, we cannot solve new problems with old thinking. In that sense, we cannot be cutting edge if we are using our old replicating mindset. We need to create a different culture within our organization.

An organizational culture is a pattern of shared basic assumptions, behaviors and values that the organization has found valuable for solving problems in doing business. It is their style and “how we operate.” Every organization has a culture whether they recognize it or not.

In my research I have found that those with a cutting edge culture have five specific components. As you examine each of the five, you will see there is a commitment to caring, a curious attitude, a challenge to create, a command to think critically and a consciousness of equality.

Murfield Model of Cutting Edge Culture Characteristics


In our book, The ROI of Compassion, we define compassion as “coming alongside another to help alleviate their pain.” In a previous post, I have differentiated empathy with compassion. Empathy is noticing and feeling, gathering data. Many leaders use empathy to do their job better. Compassion, however, demands a shift in paradigms, focusing on the other to help them solve their problems and take them out of their pain.

As leaders seeking to disrupt our products and services, industry and world, we start by understanding the pain of consumers. We create to eliminate the pain of inconvenience, delay and unreliability that previously has been considered acceptable. Often times no one disrupts that market because they didn’t think they could do anything about it. Other times they don’t disrupt because they accepted the pain. Imagine the pain we can alleviate when we make things better, faster and cheaper.

To begin creating your cutting-edge culture, shift your paradigm and focus on authentically alleviating their pain. This can’t be any glitzy marketing scheme or sales tactic. You have to genuinely care about their pain.

Second, you will need to care for your team and teach them how to be compassionate. If you don’t model it, they will never believe it.

Compassion is both an attitude and a commitment to action. As part of a cutting edge culture, compassion is a critical component that shows you care about alleviating the pain of others.

Build a Breakthrough Organization


Answer the following questions:

  • Are you interested in the past?
  • Are you interested in what the world is going to look like in 5 years?
  • Are you interested in how many fundamental ways the world will change?
  • Or are you content with the world you live in?

Curiosity is an attitude of wanting to know and experience something more or different. Creating a cutting edge culture is first being interested and second, building an organization where people are curious about what could be.

Improve Your Communication with the “C” Suite?


To create is defined as “to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.” In other words, we do something differently to come up with a different product or service. To disrupt is to create something fundamentally different. It is essentially different, not just a tweak of an old product but to begin anew.

The creative process is a challenge for those who are used to replicating. Replicating is easy compared to creating. To build a cutting edge culture requires that we break the mold and commit to building something better. It isn’t just “trying” but a commitment to create something that once in place, no one wants to go back to the old way because the new way is so much better.

Take the Disruptive Opportunity Challenge

Critical Thinking

Doing something that has never been done before commands thinking critically. Defined, critical thinking is disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.” To create a cutting edge product or service, there must be thinking that is clearly thought out, logical, and open to being dissuaded by evidence. It is all about the facts and the process. It is not just a whim, wish or wonder. It is the hard work of research and decision making. We judge which idea is best based on the evidence we have discovered.

Critical Thinking is too often the rare dodo bird, extinct in our entitled world of tightly help opinion. The challenge for leaders is to balance the popular opinion pages of social media and instantaneous reaction to discovering and weighing evidence to make the best decision.

Critical Thinking is a command that cutting edge cultures cannot ignore, deny or escape.

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Collaboration is working together as equals to solve a problem. Critical to successful collaboration is what I call a “consciousness of equality.” Traditional leaders may bristle as this because they are used to hierarchy, titles and power levels. They are used to a competition notion of problem solving where the higher you are on the organizational chart, the more you are perceived to have the power to solve the problem.

Collaboration flattens that model and makes solving significant problems easier. In this model, everyone has a valuable perspective. Even the lowest person on that organizational chart will have a perspective that is valuable for the solution. No one is excluded in a cutting edge culture.

Within that collaboration is an expectation that all come to the situation with the four previously mentioned components. Each person must display a commitment to caring, a curious attitude, a challenge to create, a command to think critically.

(c) 2019 Murfield International, Inc.




Loren Murfield, Ph.D.

I work with leaders and organizations think bigger and reach higher to find breakthrough success. This is a process that I can help you learn. Begin the process today by contacting me. 

Start learning how you can engage employees during their most traumatic moments in our newly revised and just released book, “The ROI of COMPASSION.” Watch for the release of our new book, “Leading with the Power of Compassion” in June, 2019.

ROI of Compassion 2018

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