Making it Real

Driving Sustainable Organizational and Team Results

  • Culture change
  • Integrating new mission, vision, strategy and/or values
  • Developing high performing teams
  • Employee engagement
  • Leadership development in general, or developing high potential leaders
  • Diversity
  • Respectful workplace, anti-bullying
  • Effective performance dialogues
  • Self-awareness and understanding others using typologies like the Enneagram, MBTI, DISC, Colors, etc.
  • Integrating new processes or practices (often using words like “transformations” that have little real meaning)
  • For example, if introducing coaching skills, the most senior leaders need to be actively coaching their direct reports and focusing on skill acquisition in this area and expecting that of other leaders. If desiring a respectful workplace, in order to not present a mixed message, they cannot promote or give status to those who are not acting in alignment with these values, no matter how successful those people are in other ways. If desiring increased collaboration they need to first take a more systemic approach rather than viewing their organization as a collection of parts and individuals, and then examine the factors driving collaboration vs. unhealthy competition, including how people get power and influence.
  • Whatever the desired outcome, they also have to initiate the examination of members’ perspectives on supporting and detracting organizational and other contextual factors, building on strengths and establishing clear accountability for removing barriers. Doing so, particularly in an open and cross-hierarchical way, aligns the organization in desired directions and also increases mutual ownership and engagement. If there’s not an understanding of the importance of intentionally forming and shifting culture, then culture is formed by default and is generally misaligned with organizational objectives, and leadership messages are not congruent.
  • This is a short summary of a dialogue one of our colleagues recently had with Ed Schein and here are Schein’s Twelve Steps to Culture Change

What does it take to make a desired outcome real in an organization?

  • Leadership from the top. Senior leaders must be centrally involved in the process and must commit to measuring, rewarding, controlling, and modeling in ways that are fully aligned with the desired outcome and change.
  • Ensure mutual awareness and understanding of the Purpose, what is to be accomplished (big picture).
  • Mutual understanding of what that Purpose means. Spend time on why this is important. How is it meaningful to those involved? What will be accomplished? Why does it matter? Who will benefit, and how? This becomes the Desired Outcome.
  • Next is Current Reality. Identify the most important strengths and challenges, internally and externally, relative to this desired outcome. Integration of multiple perspectives from diverse stakeholders is very important, cross-hierarchical and cross-functional.
  • Examine the challenges through the lens of Circles of Influence: what’s under our control, what’s under our influence, and what’s out of our control?
  • Develop plans that build on the identified strengths and address the challenges as much as possible.
  • Build the capacity of those involved through regular ongoing reflection, and integrating tools such as perspective taking and seeking, use of polarity maps and integration of self-awareness tools. We find the Enneagram to be by far the most powerful system for awareness of individual strengths, challenges, habits and patterns, as well as for better understanding others.
  • Build in ways to have ongoing evaluation of effectiveness of desired outcomes, and then evolving based on what’s learned. Dynamic steering in a complex environment (where there is no one “right answer”) requires “steering points,” data that can be used to adjust and adapt over time. Those involved need to get together, celebrate what’s working well, uncover and strategize about how best to identify new challenges, etc. This is collective reflection.
  • Integrate that learning (collective and individual) back into the culture.
  • Support this integration with approaches that “build in the good” and help overcome the brain’s “negativity bias.” Internalize the positives that have happened. How have the organization and its different stakeholders (employees, customers, vendors, etc.) benefited? What’s the value of what’s been learned? Why does it matter? How has it supported meaning, connection and growth?
  • Trust/Confidentiality. Very few organizations have created the level of safety needed for people to fully share their perspectives. They have norms that make it difficult for people to bring in the outlying, differing perspectives that are needed to address the complexity required for effective and sustainable change.
  • Objectivity. Organizational cultures impact how people think. It’s hard to think outside of the context you currently work in (organizational norms and biases), no matter what your capacity. Put another way, it’s hard to see the box you’re in. “Outside eyes” guided by experience and wisdom will be able to ask different questions and gather more fulsome information.
  • Systemic Perspective. Our background in understanding systems enables us to probe differently and thus assist the organization in optimizing overall effectiveness and operating systemically, not just individually.
  • Capacity-Building Perspective. We work from developmental models that have identified the kinds of thinking and acting that are sequentially more effective in these VUCA times (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity). The extent to which leaders think and act in developmentally sophisticated ways depends both on their individual capacity and on the kind of thinking driven by the current culture. Examining these factors is vital.
  • Objective Assessments. We use an objective measure of organizational culture, Human Synergistic’s Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI), to assess both the current culture and the ideal culture that’s needed to support organizational objectives. It also identifies the most important factors to address for positive change. Engagement surveys generally measure organizational climate at best (what shows up on the surface), rather than organizational culture (what’s driving those results). They tell you what’s showing up at the surface, but not why and what’s actually needed. These objective assessments provide powerful support for change.

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Building individual and organizational capacity through executive coaching, organizational/team effectiveness consulting and leadership development.

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Clear Impact Consulting Group

Building individual and organizational capacity through executive coaching, organizational/team effectiveness consulting and leadership development.