Culture: the attitudes, beliefs, practices, and values of an organization, are built with people’s behaviors. In part 1 we talked about the need to have affection for others and for what we do to develop a good culture. The need to create an “agape” relationship of respect and commitment. In this part we will talk about the process of communication in this unhealthy environment where I worked, to improve and to cure the organizational body, gravely ill.
RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOUNTABILITY AND ENGAGEMENT
With a lack of planning and a strategy, there was a lack of direction and understanding of responsibilities and accountabilities that, obviously resulted in lack of egagement and commitment. The organization was on an emergency mode, putting out fires without a plan, with the members of the management team and employees pointing fingers at each other to blame for the numerous adverse issues taking place. There was no teamwork, no unity. When the company’s leaders and employees finally agreed to meet, the anatomy analogy mentioned in part 1 was presented in a classroom setting. After that analogy and speaking about “agape”, an illustration like the one below was shown to express feelings over the communication in the company.
There was no “we” in this organization, no unity. We might say there was no “I” either because no one wanted to assume their part of responsibility for the crisis this business has fallen into. There was nothing to be proud of. The conditions were extremely bad and they seemed to be impossible to change. This was an uphill battle that needed a huge effort to win.
Resistance to listen changed and an open hearted communication started with the concept of “agape” in mind. The rules included respect for each other and willingness to work together. There was an admission of the seriousness of the company’s situation and the need to change, to compromise and to improve. Yes, the team members understood that the company was ill and that the subject pronouns presentation was accurate. An urgent change was needed. How exciting it was to realize it was doable.
ANALOGIES. WHAT IS NORMALLY A NEGATIVE EVENT WITH POSITIVE CONNOTATIONS
When getting the company’s team members together, there was a challenge on how to lead the meetings. I decided to try using analogies to inspire and gain commitment. I thought about using what are considered destructive events as constructive events to build and not to destroy. Let’s give it a shot I thought and there we went.
In all groups there are individuals more outgoing and motivated than others. I asked to look at our inner motivations and let out our leadeship inside of us to start a process to spread positive energy to others. We were into the FLU sesason and I thought about how the influenza can be spread. Why not spreading good influence like an epidemic.
The initial message communicated to the team members at the “transformation meeting” was to spead good influence to others positively, to ensure that all or most team members:
1. catch the influence; 2. spread it. 3. Make it highly contagious 4. Develop an epidemic of good influence. 5. Let’s give a shot that inoculates good influence.
No needs to cover our mouths. Let’s all show a big smile.
This simple analogy was contagious and worked in creating an inspiration and desire to change. The epidemic process started with unexpected individuals taking a leadership role. More analogies were used before getting hands to work in the transformation. More of the analogies to follow in part 3.