Look over the following questions and activities. In this chapter, they are designed to give you an insight into leading change toward a People-Centric culture. It is especially important to do these activities with your leadership team—
one dream; one team. Talk about the issues raised in this chapter and come to an agreement about how you will work together as a leadership team to create a People-Centric culture in your business. Remember, one team; one process. Application Activity 7.1: Critical Values
Put in your own words the People-Centric values that you want to drive behavior in your organization. Talk with others—what kind of organization do you want to become? When your people are at their best, what values do they live? Make a list of candidates for the People-Centric values you want to produce and sustain. Be clear; be precise—and be ready to make tough choices!
Sophie’s Choice (a novel by William Styron) was an amazingly engrossing and tragic book (and, later, movie). Sophie and her two children were sent to a Nazi concentration camp where, as the story unfolds, she had to choose between her children; only one of them would be allowed to survive.
I’ve seen executive teams create long lists of the things that are important to them without understanding that a change effort cannot go to all places at the same time. Instead of choosing among them, they tried to have it all. That doesn’t work!
When identifying the important values your company will focus on, tough choices may need to be made. This is your opportunity to be disciplined—to choose and then choose again and then choose yet another time, until you are down to the two to three values that are most important to your company’s culture. Not a real Sophie’s choice, but a hard choice for many leaders to make.
Start by making a list of the eight most important People-Centric values for your company. Involve your leadership team in this discussion. Who do you want to be?
Be clear; be precise. Language matters, especially when you attempt to communicate those values throughout your organization.
Now that you have eight important values,
cut that list in half! You are picking four from the list of eight you started with, all of which were so desirable to you and your team that they made the first list. NOW, cut it in half again! You should have no more than two (maybe three) values that will define what your culture will be like; the two to three People-Centric values that will drive the right kinds of behavior.
Why only two to three key values?…because your people will need to have focus…and if you pick the most critical values to promote, they will drive behavior that touches other related values you might have already listed. So, do the work. This is important!
Use the worksheet below.
If you have a leadership team, do the first listing separately and then discuss what you listed. Together, cut this list from eight to four values…and then, again, together, cut it to two (or three at most). This is a great way to get your team on the same page…and being on the same page is necessary for this sort of change effort.
Application Activity 7.2: Your Force Field
Force Field is a nice way of seeing what you have going for you…and what you’re up against. Create a Force Field that includes the drivers that support the change you want to create and the forces that push back against the change and hold on dearly to the status quo. It will make visible the factors that need your attention, especially those that need to be turned around to support the change. See below for a generic example.
Notice, you can strengthen factors that support the change
and reduce/turn around factors that push against the change. For example, clearly communicating the case for action will help ensure that your people can understand why change is called for. Redressing prior disregard for the workforce is a great start and a way to get the attention of those who will have to support the change effort. Metrics can be changed. Reward systems can be changed. Training can be added.
This is a good exercise for making obstacles visible, and for creating a strategy for turning obstacles into forces that will support the change. When we identify and align forces for change, we have a much better chance to both create the change we desire and sustain it.
Application Activity 7.3: One Team—One Process If
you are currently ready to initiate a change to a People-Centric culture, answer the following questions. These questions need to be addressed up front by each member of your leadership team and then discussed as a team. Creating one team in terms of messages, decisions, actions, and leadership needs to be a priority. You do not want to wait to learn that you are headed in different directions with different processes and different time lines. So, answer each question individually and then discuss with your leadership team.
What is it about a People-Centric culture that…
What one to two questions need to be addressed before I can be fully committed to this change?
What commitments to supporting this change goal can I currently make?
What change process will we use to guide us, individually and as a leadership team?
Can we commit to holding each other accountable for following an agreed-upon change process? How would we do this?