Archive for category Corporate Culture
Gary Hamel is awesome. I remember doing strategic planning in the 90’s and reading Hamel’s guru stuff. Here he is 20 years later still blowing our minds and giving us new change management insights to play with.
In a recent leadership development workshop I ran, one woman bravely spoke her truth about the reality of the toxic corporate culture they all worked in. It was dysfunctional. Managers were petty and their pettiness was only overshadowed by the pettiness of the leaders above them. All these great ideas we were generating in the training – all this great energy – how could they keep it alive when everyone went back to their regularly scheduled work life the next day?
Enter, Reality Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes we have to accept the reality that innovation can’t always be planned, but when we find a pattern to help us increase the likelihood of spontaneity – why not try to learn it and bake it into the corporate culture?
In their new book “Great by Choice,” Jim Collins and Morten Hansen have identified some of these patterns. One I loved was “Zoom In Zoom Out” that describes how executives at innovative companies “Zoom Out” to take a strategic view of the situation before “Zooming In” to take action when the ground shifts under their feet. But they don’t just get all zoomy for the fun of it; they look for a specific data point when they Zoom Out, which is how much time do we have not to act before our risk profile changes? This designated time parameter then becomes the de facto boundary of our tactical response, allowing more strategic actions if more time is available and less if it’s not.
How Come Doctors Get All The Protocols? Read the rest of this entry »
Throughout my career I’ve had experiences with government, nonprofit and corporate cultures, and I’ve noticed a leadership pattern in all three that any leader can learn from.
Consensus means different things to different people. Be brave. Do Your Job.
Don’t take the ”easy” path.
The word consensus is based on the Latin word “consent,” which according to Dictionary.com means “to be in agreement.” Most people take this into the absolute realm and interpret consensus to mean, “everyone agrees with everything.”
Bad idea. Executive Coaching tip: people are designed at the molecular level NOT to agree on everything. So why set yourself up for the tyranny of the minority? Read the rest of this entry »
In researching my eCourse on Speaking Truth to Power to help people use their own deep wisdom to advance their careers, I stumbled on this great article by James O’Toole (link). O’Toole gave several examples of corporate cultures that encourage people to challenge authority and who excelled because of it. A great example was 1980′s Motorola, led by CEO Robert Galvin. Galvin credited a deliberate culture of challenging ideas held by those in authority as the fuel that helped Motorola overcome Texas Instruments.
It seems pretty clear, from anecdotes like this and research conducted more recently, that a culture that encourages new ideas and open dialog breeds innovation, but human nature seems to work against us here. The research shows that due to “the boss effect” the higher up they go, the less bosses listen and (presumably because more messengers get shot), the more trepidation people have about speaking up.
Corporate cultures are so strong! What’s a leader to do?
Hire a fool.
And you thought it was just you.
New research confirms that the more power(*) a manager or leader has, the more likely they are to ignore advice.
To some extent this makes sense. I mean, being rewarded with powerful positions means you must be doing something right, right? And if you’re doing something right, why not trust yourself and your decisions? Read the rest of this entry »
Breaking news for creative types: you’re not crazy. Your innovative ideas really are being ignored, downplayed, sidelined and squashed.
So says a study out of University of Pennsylvania Wharton, University of North Carolina and Cornell last year. Turns out that experiments turn up some disturbing findings for those of us hoping to spur innovation in our organizations: new ideas increase feelings of uncertainty and stimulate an anti-creativity bias. The anti-creativity bias causes people to unconsciously ignore the thing causing uncertainty – and your idea along with it.
Even more sadly, objective evidence in favor of your idea doesn’t really help it get through the anti-creative bias.
People just like to play it safe.
What To Do About It
Yes, Steve Jobs changed the world. He was brilliant, fearless, courageous and undeniably successful by all measures but one. See these HBR laudatory reviews? I agree with them all.
But, in his most blatant imperfection, I see great opportunity for you. Read the rest of this entry »
Bosses, Do you know what’s really going on in your organizations? According to the Speak Truth to Power Survey I fielded last month, no. You’re often not hearing what your people really think.
According to my unscientific-but-interesting survey, almost half your potential workforce (48%) indicated they are actively withholding their truth in the workplace more than 25% of the time. But guess what? The Corporate Executive Board found scientific corollary data that’s even scarier. Read the rest of this entry »
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I ran a survey last month asking people about their experiences with Speaking Truth to Power. One hundred and fifty five professionals – mostly women – responded and said loud and clear that:
- Almost half of them withheld their truth from their bosses a good deal of the time;
- 82% had been penalized in the past for speaking their truth; and
- 76% felt regret when they did not feel safe speaking their truth. Read the rest of this entry »