Monday 2 June 2014

Culture is King and Change Leadership is Queen

I originally wrote this article for Switch and Shift. It’s a subject close to my heart and for people aligned with my work and so I am sharing it here.

Firstly though a reminder about the unique opportunity to become an inaugural member of Maverick Thinkers Studio

The journey to thriving on the challenges of change demands us to dance with our fear of, anxiety about, and resistance to change, and to do what we’ve never done before. It is a road less traveled. Maverick Thinkers Studio is a safe place for a 100 people at any given time who are willing to take this journey of a life time.

I am offering you the opportunity to join my studio at the Enrolled and Engaged levels for 25% less than what the regular fees will be from June 15th.

Is one of the 100 places yours?

There are also 50 places for Associate members where you can try out the studio for 90 days as well as have two online mentoring sessions with me on Skype.

Culture is King and Change Leadership is Queen

The great Kings and Queens were and are loved by the people.

Great leaders are loved too.

In business, culture and change leadership are King and Queen.

A client of mine when confronted with stories suggesting not all is well in parts of his business says “That’s not the way we roll.” He is talking about his company’s culture. He often share’s great and authentic stories with employees beginning with “The way we roll is ...” My client, like all great leaders, is a guardian, a keeper, a role model of culture.

UGRs (unwritten ground rules) tell the true story of your culture. UGRs dictate the way things roll in your business. It could be that your UGRs are very different to what your operating manuals say!

Here are 3 special ways to make culture a King who is loved in your business

1) Invest time, energy and money every day in ensuring shared-view 

Culture is created and sustained by ensuring an ongoing shared-view with the people you work with about:

where you are (reality)
where you're going (possibility)
why you're going there (purpose)
how you will get there (strategy)
who will do what and when (execution)
how you will know you are on track (milestones and lead measures)
how you will behave along the way (values)

2) Live your values

How we live our values underpins culture.

We often articulate our values with single words. The real issue is what do the words you have that describe your values look like behaviourially?

When we know what our values mean behaviourially we can turn our values into virtues and engage in meaningful appreciation and accountability conversations, praising people when values are lived and holding them to account when they’re not.

3) Management By Wandering Around (MBWA)

The concept of MBWA, originally a way of being at Hewlett Packard, was made popular by Tom Peters. Today we might call it leadership and management by wandering around.

The only way you can ensure the legitimacy of your culture as a leader is to be where the action is i.e. with your people, listening, observing, sharing; leading.

For culture to be King, change leadership must be Queen

All great leaders operate in partnerships. The Gates Foundation is working because Bill and Melinda are both leading in harmony with one another. There would have been no Jobs without Wozniak, no Winston without Clementine.

In order to grow and sustain authenticity cultures need change leadership.

Here are 3 special ways to be a change leader

1) Change Yourself

All change is personal first. Here’s three actions to get going.

Make a list of the things you aren’t doing that you know you should be and start doing them.

Ask others for “feedforward” about how you could be better as a leader. Take action.

Take something you are afraid of and embrace it.

2) Change your relationships

Think about a relationship at your workplace that you and the other person want to be better. Answer the following questions and act on your answers. Repeat this action with everyone in your life where you and they want a better relationship.

How can I improve how I make contact with xxxx?
How can I better connect emotionally with xxxx?
What must I do to find better common-ground with xxxx?
How can I better demonstrate my commitment to xxxx?

3) Change your organisation

Explore with your inner circle how the people in your organisation could do what they do, just better, differently or more uniquely than anybody else.

Embrace maverick thinking as you do this exercise.

Mavericks – rebels, radicals, dissenters, disrupters, heretics, non-conformists, contrarians, (the label doesn’t really matter) think differently. Thinking like a maverick is a great way to find your edge, the place to be to differentiate your organisation from everyone else.

After you have done this exercise agree with your colleagues on how you will engage the rest of your employees, most likely one team at a time, in embracing change. Remember if people don’t believe in change and own their piece of the execution puzzle change won’t happen.

Some people believe that change is hard. I believe change is often hard work yet change itself is simple. We complicate it. 

Like people change can’t be managed. We can manage processes, systems, procedures. People must be lead. In a world where disruption is normal change leadership is Queen in your business. When culture is King as well you will have royalty on the throne of your business. Remarkable results will follow.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wise words to consider.

“Change management is dependent on emergencies. But change is no longer an emergency. Change is normal.”
Seth Godin in ‘Survival Is Not Enough’.

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein 

Additional relevant reading

The line “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” usually attributed to Peter Drucker is often quoted. In my view both need the other. This article by Ken Favaro, Senior Partner with Strategy& explains this very well I think.

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