#2 Articulate what you want

#2 Articulate what you want

To quote Stephen Covey, the starting point is to Begin with the End in Mind.  Anyone who is familiar with Mr Covey’s Seven Habits will recognise that this is about visualising and describing what you want.

For many, prior to March 2020, the people we worked with were the community we spent most time with.  This wasn’t necessarily talked about or even consciously recognised and the concept of organisations as communities isn’t new – Mary Parker Follet was writing about it more than 150 years ago.  But over the last nine months, when we haven’t been able to commune with our work mates in the same way, many have experienced a sense of loss of meaning.

This change in our work experience has caused people to reflect on their ‘purpose’ for work.  So, before working with your teams on the culture they want, it may be helpful to start with a ‘why’ question.  ‘Why do you choose to work here?’

When purpose and meaning is feeling a bit thin on the ground, discussing organisation culture – the way we do things around here – is a great  motivator and now is a good time to have these conversations

  • It’s a new year and our inner clock loves to reset the dial at this time
  • We have amazed ourselves with the art of the possible in unexpected and often extremely adverse conditions
  • Creating meaning never fails to boost morale, with intention, performance and productivity following closely behind

So, where to start?

  1. Recognise what you’ve got
  • How would you describe your purpose and culture pre-Covid?
  • How would you describe your purpose and culture today?
  • What changed during 2020?
    • The good stuff that you want to harness and carry forward
    • The issues/challenges you want to mitigate or improve
  1. Describe what you want
  • How do you want to be describing your culture 12 months from now?
  • What do you believe in?
  • What do people want to belong to – stand for and be proud of?
  • How do you want/need to be distinctive?
  • What do your customers need from you?
  • How will you stand out from the competition?
  • How will you attract and keep talent?
  1. Bring it to life
  • What does that mean we’ll be saying and doing?
  • How will it impact customers?
  • What will be different?
  • What will be the same?
  • Do any of our values and behaviours need refreshing?

Be bold and be relevant

Back in April last year we had numerous conversations with companies about how quickly they acted when the first lockdown took hold.  They implemented changes, in a matter of weeks and days, that had previously been viewed as requiring months or longer.

Some have maintained this can-do, will-do spirit and used it to challenge norms that had long been taken for granted – they have created a culture fit for the present and the future.

The world of work may never be quite the same again – the winners will be those who embrace the new realities.  A quote, from over 150 years ago, feels remarkably current.

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

Abraham Lincoln addressing congress in December 1862

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