I recently met with a client, responsible for organizational development, in the financial services sector, who was seeking ideas, information and input from ImagineNation™ towards cultivating a “fail fast” organizational culture. It caused me to explore what might be some of the key messages that could be sent to people, to create permission, vulnerability, safety, courage, and trust for the deep learning’s that mistakes and failure provide in advancing creativity, invention, and innovation?
How could developing a “fail fast” culture help organizations survive, flow, and flourish with the high levels of ambiguity, uncertainty, volatility, and instability in the operating environment?
Culture is at the heart and soul of every organization across the globe, and Human Synergistics’ 3rd Annual Ultimate Culture Conference examined this topic with the theme of Leadership and Culture—It’s a Two-Way Street. There were many executable learnings that came out of the event and here are six items that organizations can act upon to move their culture to a Constructive style—along with a seventh, personal favorite for each of us to remember.
In our previous article, Developing A Performance Culture, we explored what business can learn from the performing arts. We asked you to think about a time when you perhaps sang in a choir or played in a band or orchestra; performed in a play or musical or did a stand-up routine. When we perform like that, we are fully engaged. Our energy is our performance. It is impossible to deliver a disengaged performance. (Well, it is possible, but the performance will bomb and the fear of ‘dying’ usually energises us!)
We also talked about the ensemble mindset of all great performers: the way they know that the quality of their own performance depends on the quality of the support that they get from their fellow artists. Great performers actively want their fellow performers to be great. They work hard to help them put on a brilliant performance of their own so that the whole ensemble can feed off the resulting energy and new ideas.
We imagined how well businesses could run if they developed a ‘performance culture’ in which team members behaved like a top-flight ensemble, pouring their energy into a barnstorming performance, with everyone working together to put on the best show they are capable of.
Values live in the realm of the invisible therefore many of us struggle to get the employees (and ourselves) to become the living example of our stated values. Executives are often discouraged several months after a strategy session when they realize that the work of designing a culture based on values is more difficult than anticipated.
Building a values-based culture begins with two requirements: Communication and capacity.
One of the most commonly asked questions in my work on culture is how long will the change take? When will we have the culture we need? There is no simple answer to this question because a multitude of factors can influence the speed of culture change across an organization. But there are things you can do to speed up the process.