Look over the following questions and activities. In this chapter, they are designed to give you an insight into the type of People-Centric culture that fits your business. If you are part of a leadership team, discuss this together. Talk about the issues raised in this chapter and come to an agreement about what a People-Centric culture could look like in your business.
Application Activity 6.1: What’s Missing in Your Culture?
This activity can easily and quickly turn into a bitch session. That’s not what I want for you. Rather, I want you to think back over those critical moments in the recent past where someone made decisions and took actions that led to poor outcomes for the company, their customers, or each other. In other words, would different decisions/actions have made a world of difference in the outcomes you experienced? So, let’s begin.
List five to six examples of decisions that went the wrong way or behaviors that failed to produce desired results. Be as specific as you can, short of identifying, by name, the person or persons you are describing.
Do the decisions and actions you described reflect what can be expected, given your company culture? Remember Simple Truth #2—all organizations are perfectly designed to get what they always get. Were the outcomes of these decisions and actions very troublesome to the point you wanted to do something about them?
Given this, what, specifically, would you change about your culture in order to get different/better decisions/actions and outcomes? Pick one or two aspects of your company culture that need to be addressed, but describe them in enough detail that others might understand your thinking.
Application Activity 6.2: What Would a People-Centric Culture Look Like in Your Organization?
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to describing a People-Centric culture. Each company, in part due to its industry, its history, its size, its current culture, and its leaders, will end up with a different color of the People-Centric spectrum. We need to understand what is possible before we can be confident about the kind of culture we need to create.
Let’s start down this path by trying to understand what your people would be doing if
you had a strong People-Centric culture. Talk about this with your leadership team. Don’t talk in the abstract, attempting to describe a series of abstract values that you might want to embrace. Rather, think back to the real experiences of your people.
Give examples of what your people would be doing when they are at their best in serving their customers, the business, and each other.
When your people are at their very best, how engaged are they? What can we count on them to do that might not be in their current job description; that is not really expected?
What results do our people produce when they are at their best?
Why is this important given the changing business challenges we face?
List a dozen examples. Ask others (e.g., your leadership team, your people) the same questions. If you can get close to understanding how people behave when at their best, you are getting close to answering the question: “How do we want our people to behave all the time?”
Once you can articulate your People-Centric culture, then you can decide whether it is the kind of culture that would help your company prosper—one that would adapt quickly to changing circumstances that, metaphorically, are just down the road and around the next corner.
Now ask yourself:
Can we prosper in a growing white water world without this type of engagement and the results it produces?