If this resonates let me tell you that you are not on your own. About 60 to 80% of organisational challenges are people related impacting on relationships. A manager spends between 25 to 40% on conflict resolution. Our research with Culture Transformation Tools shows an average organisational dysfunction and productivity loss of 25 to 30% in each industry. And 70% of change projects still fail because of people. As a past CEO I know that managing people is hard work. People make and shape culture. While culture is as tough as nails, we need so called soft skills to identify the interconnectedness of cause and effect to overcome these issues.
When we understand the interconnections in organisations then everything gets easier. So here is a framework you can follow. I call it Culture Gardening. Imagine your organisation as a tree (some of my long term subscribers have heard this analogy before); there is a visible and hidden part to the tree. In organisations the visible parts are structure (trunk), systems and processes (branches), the reach of the organisation (crown), and the people’s behaviour, skill and expertise (leaves). The invisible part is the collective culture (root system) shaped by leader’s values and beliefs and carried out by all employees (individual roots). When looking at cause and effect we can say that people’s behaviours are the visible effects reacting to the environment, and individual leaders’ values and beliefs are the root or cause of organisational culture driving the use of systems and processes.
Let me give you some examples. When I started working as a manager I found a mountain of frustrations in my team; mostly about little things. Each had grown to the size of an elephant. There was a self-closing security door that needed to be pulled shut. Often not pulled it did not close. There were employees not completing the appointment book, so no-one knew where they were and which clients they visited increasing organisational risk. There were the smokers on the veranda stinking out the lunch room with the previous manager having been the main culprit. Staff complained about discrepancies in their salary. And so it went on and on. However, all these frustrations were evident in one staff behaviour. Each was bringing their frustration to their leader to solve it. In addition to a busy role, this increased the workload multiple times, becoming unmanageable and allowing mice to grow to elephants.
Causes relating to systems and processes are often the easiest to resolve. Removing behavioural causes take more time, effort and consistent application. As a new manager I could change behaviours quickly by setting new expectations that were in line with my values and beliefs. While a present leader has to be open to their own involvement to the cause. When the leader is the cause, the effect may never get resolved unless the leader has the consciousness to see their ways. However, by looking at the interconnections leaders or managers can investigate and follow the trail and prioritise the quick gains and those that take longer.
We can help your managers with gaining more consciousness about how they influence these interconnections. Join us for the Conscious Leadership Adventure a 6 month in-house program to help leaders find out about their motivations, values and beliefs and how these impact their behaviour and decision making capacity.