There is an up and coming leader in a global IT firm, Ray, who is known as the smartest guy in the room. He has been a top performer for years, is well known for his executive briefings of customers, and his solid strategic sense. In fact, he’s so smart that whenever he goes into a meeting with colleagues, everyone waits for him to weigh in on the issue of the day, since there’s no point in having a different view. You’re most likely going to be made wrong. He also has the ear of the Senior Vice President, so Ray speaks with power as well as smarts.
Our emerging workforce is not interested in command-and-control leadership. They don’t want to do things because I said so; they want to do things because they want to do them.
~Irene Rosenfeld, CEO, Mendelēz International
In an earlier post, ‘Culture for the age of ideas’, we argued that the culture of many organisations is still unthinkingly based on the old industrial-era mindset of scientific management and command and control. We suggested that there are a number of persistent organizational behaviors that have their origins in this outmoded culture that are now actively preventing the things that modern organisations know they most need: employee engagement, commitment and creativity, for example. This idea was fully explored in our book. My Steam Engine Is Broken: Taking the organization from the industrial era to the age of ideas.
If an organization wishes to inspire and sustain innovation, a culture of innovation is required. And while there are many variations and hybrids within innovation cultures, the basic components remain constant. Of course, this does not mean that innovation can’t survive in a non-innovation culture; it just faces much longer survival odds and its success will likely be despite the organization’s culture and not because of it.
Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part post by Garo Reisyan. We’re pleased to feature his leading-edge content on the important subject of Neuro-Organizational Culture. Part one can be found here.
One of the greatest challenges our times is the deliberate change of behaviors, particularly when the behaviors of a larger group of people are at stake. Most people know how challenging it already is to change a simple operational process. Now, when it comes to behavior, we touch the most complicated thing in the world—human beings. There’s nothing more complex, capable and creative, but also odd and cruel than us out there.
Simple has been one of my mantras. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end, because once you get there you can move mountains.
What Steve Jobs understood, that many others do not, is that it takes much more effort to achieve simplicity than it does to achieve complexity. Everything naturally expands towards the complex, unless very tightly driven the other way, and cultures are no different.