The cure for hardening corporate arteries? Creating a culture of agility

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What company in the world has not been going through sudden shifts wrought from major, disruptive change? Consumer technology companies, health care companies, automakers, and smart phone manufacturers are among industries whose very foundation is more like shifting quicksand.

To survive and grow, and even regain competitive advantage, many companies are grappling with ways to transform their businesses in the face of radical change. They are responding in many predictable and time-tested ways: changing CEOs and leadership teams, shifting strategies, rolling out new product lines, amping up innovation, cutting costs and restructuring. These are all the necessary things to do to react to change, but these actions usually only treat the symptoms of a chronic illness – hardening of corporate arteries – without curing the underlying cause.

Companies may be missing out on the most important strategy of all: creating a culture of agility. This should be every CEO’s first strategic priority because it is the culture that enables companies to flex nimbly in any direction and execute any strategy.

Value-based Leadership

Disney 12-6-14-23

Every supervisor, manager and leader in every organization makes hundreds of decisions every week. The decisions we make are always motivated by either our personal or organizational needs. But have you ever thought about how you make your decisions?  Do you make decisions based on your instincts, beliefs, values, intuition or inspiration?

Most people make decisions based on their beliefs. The problem with beliefs is that they are based on information from the past that we then project into the future. In a rapidly changing world, the past is not a good predictor of the future. This is why more and more leaders are shifting to values-based decision-making. Values-based decision-making also has another important advantage: When people share and live by the same values decision-making gets easier.

The future of customer experience improvement is all about culture

Customer experience

When you think about companies that provide an incredible customer experience, it’s no coincidence they are the exact same companies that have amazing cultures. Think Southwest Airlines, Ritz Carlton, Zappos, Nordstroms…great customer service and great workplace cultures since culture is the ultimate driver of a sustainably exceptional customer experience.

“Customer experience” is a hot subject these days but many organizations continue to put their front line employees in the middle of a horrible customer experience and their employees are sick of being in that position.

It’s not good enough to have a great product or service; you need an exceptional customer experience.

WE WIN, Unite Your Team to Make an Impact

Jordan - No I in Team

A popular post I wrote for TLNT.com last year on organizational culture change is still on the first page of google search results for that topic.

I approached a training video company with course content based on that post and they felt culture is a topic best suited for top leaders. They explained that training video sales are higher if the content fits first line managers and individual contributors.

I explained the culture fundamentals that apply to top leaders also apply to work teams of any size since they are sub-cultures with behavior that’s also driven by cultural rules.

From that insight, the culture content was simplified and the WE WIN framework was born!

The Sweet Spot of Success – Understanding Culture, Change and Leadership to Accomplish Business Results

Bull - Understand people and business

A Sweet Spot exists at the intersection of three areas of context for any business transformation (Change). It is critical for leaders to get context clarity on these areas to make the difference between a resounding successful change and a crashing failure.

The Sweet Spot:sweet spot of success

  1. Leadership Context – What are the leader’s skills, strengths and experiences in leading change? What is the leader’s commitment to the change?
  1. Organizational Strategy (Change) Context – What must change? Why is change needed? As a result of the change, what does success look like?
  1. Organizational Culture Context – What are the underlying beliefs and behaviors that shape the performance and potential of the organization?

Sweet Spot = the winning formula for leading change