The Top 3 Components for Successful Organisational Change in 2020
Today’s business environment is highly dynamic and competitive.
Constant industry disruptions, higher customer expectations, and newly emerging trends leave organisations no choice but to move more quickly, cut costs, and generate more and more innovative ideas. This concerns not only energetic founders inspired by unicorn start-up stories and leadership of smaller organisations looking for growth but also executives of long-time industry leaders who would like their companies to continue thriving (or need to change to survive).
Unfortunately, this tempts a lot of organisational leaders to take desperate measures, like pushing for shorter – at times impossible – delivery deadlines, hiding details from their teams and clients that could raise extra concerns or questions, and expecting their team members to work even longer hours. What they don’t realise is that by doing so, not only they do not help their organisations, but they also create and magnify new and existing problems. Simply pushing for better results without giving people the tools that would allow them to be more efficient, effective, and innovative creates distrust and communication issues, lowers engagement, and reduces efficacy. We have seen so many examples recently of how such toxic behaviours on the part of leadership deteriorates company cultures and leads to serious PR scandals and legal consequences. From an overly ambitious Cleo co-founder that turned a promising start-up with a humble mission into a toxic workplace, to Boeing executives rushing to put out 737 MAX with disastrous consequences, and the list keeps growing.
When all members of the team feel safe sharing the blockers with their colleagues, who in return, are willing to provide peer coaching, it allows them to effectively get rid of the blockers without having to spend extra hours in the office.
However, that doesn’t mean that rapid growth and higher results are impossible to achieve and sustain. In fact, a proven way to do so is by investing in building or changing organisational cultures to be based first and foremost on the principles of candour, shared accountability for results, and co-elevation.
Candour means overcoming conflict avoidance to speak the truth in service of growth for both the business and the people working in it. In organisations with a high level of candour, all members of the team speak openly with each other. They share their opinions and concerns, ask questions, and don’t hold back their ideas, which takes care of any possible miscommunication or distrust, as well as encouraging creativity. An important detail here is that the feedback must be given carefully, with permission, and in service of other members of the team, and that is where shared accountability for results comes in.
Shared accountability is more than just picking up extra work on behalf of the team members who are missing their goal. It’s about understanding that “your results are my results; our results are the organisation’s results” and making sure you do not let each other fail. Coaching and collaborative problem solving are key indicators of shared accountability. Members of such teams don’t sit back in meetings when they ‘have done their part’. Instead, they are actively engaging in conversations because chances are other members of the team do not have the same performance level and need their guidance and support. It’s a team game, after all.
Ultimately, organisations that master candour and shared accountability for results unlock this unique way of working together that we, at Ferrazzi Greenlight, call co-elevation. They commit to going higher together and proactively look for ways to help each other grow both personally and professionally. Organisations that operate in such a way are able to move quicker than their competitors without putting extra pressure on their employees. When all members of the team feel safe sharing the blockers with their colleagues, who in return, are willing to provide peer coaching, it allows them to effectively get rid of the blockers without having to spend extra hours in the office. Giving and receiving constructive feedback does not cause conflicts because all team members understand that they are acting in service of each other and their shared goals. Teams feel happier, more connected, and inspired to take on higher objectives – together.
Results today no longer justify the toxic means of achieving them. And quite frankly, in today’s world fueled by social media and close media attention to integrity in organisations, it has become quite impossible to achieve great results without making a genuine effort to build a culture of trust, candour, and mutual support. Workers today are more and more concerned with maintaining a healthy work-life balance and are choosing organisations with transparent and supportive cultures even if that means taking a pay cut. It is always the organisations that chose to make slower but consistent steps towards building out a healthy culture that yield higher and more sustainable results. And their teams stick around because of it.