This chapter was designed to give you an introduction to the major themes of this book. In this chapter, the questions were designed to create a baseline for these themes. Consider this an early snapshot of your business, leadership, and company culture. If you are part of a leadership team, do this together as a team.
If it would be useful, collect information and data from within your business. Use surveys or interviews or focus groups or social media to learn more from people who are in a position to see things you might miss or undervalue. Do so with an open mind…you may hear many things that you will not believe (and some that should not be given great consideration), but you may also learn about so much more than you have understood just because you’re located in the midst of the fray, busily working to accomplish your full agenda.
As a leadership team, come to an agreement about where your company is…where it’s going, and how ready you are to get there.
Application Activity 1.1: Your Baseline
I gave you a peek at the senior leaders of a company that needed to create significant change to win a government contract or face the likelihood of going out of business. These leaders struggled with their people, and when they needed them most, during a culture change, their people didn’t respond well, and these leaders, in turn, didn’t know how to respond either. Culture change is hard enough without having a broken relationship with the very people who need to implement those changes.
Take a look at the questions below as they apply to your work setting—whether it be a department, function, or the entire company. Can you see the threads of the fabric that has already been woven into your company’s culture?
Answer the following questions. If it would be useful, discuss them with your team. It might lead to an interesting discussion.
When you think about what business results are possible in your work area (department, function, or business), where do you stand? Describe any gap between what is possible and what you commonly observe.
Do your current results, especially the gaps you identified, have anything to do with your people and their contributions? Explain.
How would you describe the relationship between formal leaders and the people who report to them? …how about the relationship with those who report up to you?
Have formal leaders in your area (department, function, or business) earned the trust and respect of their people every day? Explain. Have you earned the trust and respect of your people every day?
Having answered these questions, is there a real opportunity for improvement in the way people are treated, their contributions, and business results you get? Explain.