Posts Tagged ‘culture’

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.

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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.

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Competition in the Workplace

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 by Susan Diehl

Competition has an important place in a supportive culture. There needs to be a catalyst to propel ideas forward or in an another direction, to react to new variables, or to innovate. 

Competition is paradoxical in that it is both isolative and collaborative at the same time. Football is a great example. Players compete against the other team, against their own teammates on the field, and those players who want to take their place. This helps to keep them sharp and improve their performance. Yet, much like in the prisoner’s dilemma-a seminal negotiation exercise, there is a time when competition becomes secondary to collaboration, and to pursue it as a strategy will sub-optimize results. 

This is true in business organizations as well. Without some competition, stagnation may set in. However, too much competition can erode trust and lead to divisiveness in the organization.

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