I confess to being a perfectionist in a state of constant rehabilitation. I love things done right. And I mean ‘my’ kind of right. The kind of right that is so insanely satisfying to me that the absence of it leaves me bereft. I think I had an inkling that this wasn’t healthy when people who were not in constant pursuit of this demanding level of excellence, succeeded anyway. What?! How could they? They weren’t up to my standards.
In order for members of an organizational culture to feel like they can fully contribute to the success of that organization, they must feel a sense of safety to protect, innovate and renovate. Cultures that create an environment of Cultural Dissonance eliminate the capacity for their members to help that culture evolve positively towards organizational goals. This is the experience that so many of the now famous convicted, fined and bankrupted companies navigated when the United States experienced a rash of public scandals.
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 learnings 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.