Posts Tagged ‘culture’

In 100 Words: The Action is at the Edges

Friday, July 31st, 2020 by Troy Schrock

Phase changes of elemental substances happen at the edges. The edges are dynamic. For example, lava cools, ice melts and water evaporates at the edges. Conversely, the center is static – insulated and isolated.

Yet, leaders typically spend most of their time working close to the internal center of the organization. Consequently, they primarily interact with others inside the same environment – people with similar values, ideas, and assumptions.

Market dynamics shape organizations at the edges. People at the organization’s edges interact with outsiders – customers (or non-customers), vendors, community representatives and competitors. Get into the action – spend more time at the edges.

“When spring comes, snow melts first at the periphery, because that is where it is most exposed.” Andy Grove

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In 100 Words: Energy Multiplier Effect

Friday, November 1st, 2019 by Troy Schrock

Do you notice how some organizations are so charged with positive energy you want to bottle it to take with you? Those environments are created by leaders who are energy providers. They have learned energy has a multiplier effect – it unleashes pent up productive and creative capacities in people around them.

We likely over-value coaching on technical mechanics and under-value providing encouragement and excitement. Can it be that simple? If so, it’s worth knowing what refreshes, excites and charges you up as a leader. Schedule time for those activities so you can power up and bring positive energy.

“If a leader doesn’t convey passion and intensity then there will be no passion and intensity within the organization and they’ll start to fall down and get depressed.”
Colin Powell

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In 100 Words: Gift of Kindness

Saturday, December 15th, 2018 by Troy Schrock

Certain seasons or events of our life heighten our awareness of both blessings we enjoy and the needs of others. Caring about someone else more than ourselves sparks kindness. Kindness can be displayed simply – smile and say hello; share encouragement and appreciation; or help someone with an obvious need.

Leaders initiate words and acts of kindness because they realize:

• Kindness is infectious – it’s easy for people to imitate.
• Kindness is relational lubrication – we more easily overlook people’s irritating behaviors.
• Kindness, regularly practiced, strengthens organizational culture.

Kindness is a gift everyone deserves to receive … and a gift everyone can give.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

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In 100 Words: The Change Spark

Friday, September 15th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

We are comfortable in our habits which makes behavior change hard. For example, medical studies confirm 90% of patients do not change their lifestyle following open heart surgery. Think of a lasting habit change you made in your life. What prompted the change? Likely there was an emotional spark – something moved you beyond simply understanding the rational benefits.

How does this connect to leading teams and organizations? Both groups are collections of people with habits. A “culture change” will only happen when individuals change behavior. What are you doing to help people you lead identify emotional sparks for habit change?

“People are very open-minded about new things, as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.” Charles F. Kettering

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Culture Disconnect

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 by Ellen Bryson

Recently, I had lunch with a friend that mentioned his company was experiencing 30 to 35% turnover. He stated this was not concerning to him. In fact, he said he sees this as a positive thing because he feels the people that don’t fit with their culture are weeding themselves out. This level of turnover has a high price tag. It is definitely something that deserves further analysis and understanding because turnover is extremely costly. If you consider on average that turnover costs companies approximately 150% of the worker’s annual salary, it has a direct impact on the bottom line.

Jack Fitzenz, a noted human resource and retention expert, believes the two main reasons people leave companies are the supervisor and the culture. This is one of the main reasons it is important for companies to align their staffing and retention activities to the core culture. In the scenario described above, a good first step would be to review the company’s human systems and evaluate the processes used to recruit, hire and train employees to see if they align with the culture.


Emotional Intelligence is Key to a Culture of Collaboration

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 by Susan Diehl

The very first CEO for whom I worked consistently referred to the importance of the “Shadow of the Leader.”  His demeanor spoke of modesty and humility–no corporate jets, no extravagant cars or homes, and graciousness to all whom he encountered. Was he perfect? No, in fact he had tendencies towards micromanagement and, under stress, his graciousness bordered on paternalism. So, the emotional intelligence disciplines he practiced and the leadership characteristics he demonstrated created an organizational culture that encouraged respectfulness towards others, pursuit of a shared vision and high standards, but it stopped short of a high performance organization.

Why? Because emotional intelligence does not alone guarantee that an organization will exhibit collaborative behaviors. In this company, collaboration was sporadic and conflict frequent due to a lack of trust and transparency, perhaps caused by the leader’s micromanagement. Indeed, there was often in-fighting between departments (silo mentality), and frequent break downs in communication. 

Despite this, having emotional intelligent leaders is vital for a sustainable collaborative culture to exist. The valuable lessons I learned from this CEO (both positive and negative) really crystallized when I had the opportunity to contrast his style with other leaders. It was then that I came to understand that while emotional intelligence does not ensure collaboration, it is key to facilitate it. More importantly, the absence of emotional intelligence can destroy a culture of collaboration. Like a blast of dynamite crushing rock that took years to form, a collaborative culture can take years to develop and a single act to destroy.