Problem-based blog posts typically offer a five-point solution. This one’s much simpler. It proposes one solution, namely:
DO WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD!
The difficult thing is knowing what that it is that makes you feel good − and then being disciplined enough to do it...
A few years ago I wrote a white paper about facilitation skills. At that point I’d been delivering leadership training for a number of years and had developed a style which I characterised as adult (based on Transactional Analysis), coaching (see Whitmore) and from a basis of ‘Unconditional Positive Regard’ (Rogers). Although I’m still facilitating leadership development, I’m now spending much more of my time as a consultant ‘helping’ organisations through the cultural elements of change projects and working with executive teams. I’ve also immersed myself in Organisational Development and Positive Psychology related practices, coming across the ideas of the use of ‘self’ in consultancy and enabling people to develop their strengths (rather than working on their weaknesses). So I’m now beginning to adapt and refine my approach to suit these new situations.
One of the most common reasons I’m asked to help alter an organisational culture is that it no longer supports the business strategy, which ultimately impacts on the success of the company. Here are some key actions you can take to ensure everything your employees do supports your goals.
1) Engage your employees
To be robust and effective corporate strategy needs to be developed in conjunction with employees from across the organisation (as well as a strategy expert who will take the external environment into consideration). Carrying out consultation sessions with groups of employees including peers and departmental teams can be invaluable in creating a strategy which takes into account the existing organisation. In addition, when you involve influential employees in this process they become much more engaged with the strategy and are more likely to act on it and persuade others to do the same.
1) Have a clear strategy
When you are a leader it’s your job to engage others to move in a specific direction. If this direction is not clear to you it certainly won’t be for them. So if you’re to have any success leading people you need to have a good strategy which includes;
• Make it simple and clear
• Involve representatives from all parts of the business in its creation
• Link it to the success of the business
• Explain why it is important
• Communicate continuously to all groups of employees
I have recently been integrating authentic leadership more frequently in my practice. This has prompted me to consider what does authenticity really mean? What does it mean for me as a leader? What does it mean for leadership development, teams and organisation development / culture change?
Authentic Leadership is about aligning who you are with what you do. This includes congruence and integrity as well as;
One of the most common challenges I’m asked to help with is translating corporate values into employee behaviours. Often values are created and communicated, maybe even measured via employee surveys but somehow they don’t create a change in employee behaviours. So how can you make a difference?
1. Link values to business strategy
The ultimate desired outcome of culture change will be to make the organisation more successful in whichever way it most values. This can include improving the bottom line, expanding to new markets, becoming more efficient at delivering services and being more influential and effective as a non-profit organisation. Whatever this outcome looks like the values need to describe what employees can do to achieve that. However it’s surprising how often values simply describe whatever the people creating them think sounds like a good place to work. This type of values tends not to gain influence within the business.
Over the past year I have begun working with five SMEs so it’s becoming a bit of a trend! This can either be for a short single project, ongoing coaching for senior employees or 2/3 days per month to work on larger projects such as establishing a people strategy. Here’s why I enjoy it so much.
1. The people
I find people who work for SMEs are generally engaged and willing to learn. The cultures are relatively process light and facilitate fast decision making. This means that the individuals are a pleasure to work with and change is relatively simple and quick to implement. I often become an extended part of the team, working closely with professionals within the organisation and enabling them to achieve more which is extremely rewarding for all involved!