I’m finding it hard today to be positive after listening to a couple of well-reasoned analyses of our economic crisis. One analyzes the current economic crisis, explaining the complex economic structures created and unregulated (admittedly a US perspective). The other is an “Inconvenient Truth” on the larger economic picture here in the US. If you have to watch one, however, I’ll recommend the latter as more important. Our childrens’, and our country’s future are at stake. So let’s see if I can spin some gold out of this mess.
I’ve already talked about investing in culture, and I want to reiterate and elaborate on that message. I listened to a free webinar the other day via the Institute for Corporate Productivity, where they’d done a survey on companies and asked about their culture. There was good news in their results: there was a significant correlation between the assessment of cultural elements surveyed and the success of the company. And bad: not many companies scored highly on all eight. A couple of factors stood out; areas for improvement included: generating trust among employees, encouraging innovation, nimbleness of the organization, and empowering workers to do their best.
Actually, I take it as good news; first that culture matters, as it’s an area a learning person can have a role in, and second that there is room for improvement, so you can have an impact. The important issue is to become aware that culture matters, and take positive steps to improve the situation.
And there are concrete steps you can take. You need to identify what your culture should be, and currently is, and address the delta. In this post about making an innovative ecosystem (part of a performance ecosystem; pointed to on Twitter, btw I’m @Quinnovator), there are a number of prescriptions. Diversity is to be supported, small experiments are valuable, nimbleness rules. In support of that you need people to feel safe to experiment, collaborate to success (innovations typically are not the output of an individual but of a group, as Keith Sawyer tells us), etc.
So, organizations that focus on positive cultures succeed better. I reckon that’s going to be even more true in truly rough times. What are you doing to increase your contribution to organizational success?