In my 20 plus years working within organisations, from a pot washer in my early teens to a Training and Development Consultant, I’ve observed, analyzed and realized there are three key components that influence the success or failure of an organisation.
Times have changed and like it or not, we are living in a digital age, but even through these important worldly changes, these three components stayed relevant which is important to know because whatever the future brings, these will still be relevant.
Even professional sports rely on these components being in alignment and as a former professional coach, I was witness to the downside of getting these wrong. Those were tough times!
Ideas are born and from those ideas a direction needs to be taken. That direction needs to have purpose and with purpose comes our first component:-
The culture that exists will be the foundation on which you attract people and how you serve others.
It is the cornerstone of how that organisation operates, at least on paper and should demonstrate the values and beliefs in which actions and behaviours are made which leads us to the second component:-
The culture in organisations is often reflected in the values that are printed on posters and comprise of phrases like “Do the right thing” and “Stronger together”. In all honesty, in my experience, these mean absolutely nothing, if the communication isn’t aligned with the Culture (values) because as soon as a leader demonstrates a behaviour that isn’t in alignment with the values, respect is lost and motivation drops. A sense of confusion can set in for the team members and dissonance can be created because now, anything can happen!
The third component are the behaviours and actions taken based on the communication that’s delivered. These processes will lead to outcomes, good bad or somewhere in between.
Allow me to give you two examples that I was witness to. I will keep the identity and nature of the organisations vague but know these were real life situations.
1) The phrase “Do the right thing” was presented as a value and therefore should have represented the culture in which this organisation operated and when staff had their monthly Keep In Touch Meetings, the staff had to demonstrate what they had done to reflect this value. However within this target driven organisation, one leader chose to take things into his own hands and fudge the statistics. Other staff were aware of this and there was a witness to him doing so.
The communication he demonstrated was definitely not doing the right thing which was highlighted in the process he used to fudge the statistics.
People talk and people don’t like to feel cheated so word spread around and there was even a complaint put in against him and guess what happened? Nope, he wasn’t reprimanded or scolded; he was promoted!
2) I was brought into a sports team to coach them and give them some guidance because they had become frustrated competing in a league and felt they had the talent but they needed someone at the helm. Their current culture was one of frustration and uncertainty so I was privileged and happy to be asked to join them.
Whenever I’m asked to help out and bring something to an organisation, there is one factor that i instil right from he beginning – compassion.
“Compassion can release a person from their shackles of insecurities”
Us humans are delicate creatures and fragile to the words others use against us and can retreat into our shells if too much negativity is thrown our way, yet given the right amount of support, understanding and guidance, we can thrive and exceed even our own limited expectations.
I quickly changed the culture to one of support and understanding and allowed each of them to communicate their own thoughts on how we could improve. This simple question is one many leaders fail to utilise because they either don’t see the value in it or believe they and they alone should come up with the solutions to any challenges that arise. Those smart leaders understand the power this question can release.
So we set aside some time to work on our processes and change a few perceptions and after the first training session, they verbalised how much better they felt with the changes. I saw the confidence rise and felt the joy of being able to allow them to find a new level of ability for the game they love.
The team rose to the top of the league and each individual has grown and developed a new set of skills that support the team within the culture that was instilled.
Compassion for me, is the one factor that will allow anyone to grow quickly and effectively and I urge you, as a leader to at least understand how compassion can influence your outcomes and the people that look to you for guidance.