Imagine the organisation as a tree; you have the visible: a trunk, branches and leaves; and the invisible: the roots. Imagine the trunk and branches as the structure of the organisation creating strength and reach, the leaves as the people, their skills and expertise, and the growth as the organisations strategy. Imagine further the many individual roots as the people’s values and beliefs, and the root system as the collective culture. These roots are the foundation of the organisation.
The Nature of People
People bring their visible and invisible traits to work. They have huge influence over the health of the organisation and become the most important asset in a knowledge-based economy. A person having to leave their values and beliefs at home will experience a dissonance creating conflict in their consciousness. The invisible traits become more important the more senior the position.
Hogan et.al (2009) show that derailed managers fail mainly for interpersonal skills such as self-awareness, self-control, emotional maturity and integrity; and intrapersonal skills such as social skills, empathy and relationship development. Furthermore, strengths may become liabilities when promoted upwards. And weaknesses become more noticeable in senior positions. The leaders’ ability to adapt their beliefs and behaviours has become more important as issues become more exasperated with faster change and increased stress.
The Nature of Change
When you replant a tree it requires the right soil, environment and a lot of nurturing. It is a time consuming and lengthy processes of acclimatisation. The nature of organisational change is the same. People need the right stabilisers (leaders), the right environment and a lot of development. Understanding what is important and finding a common denominator for change is vital to people feeling connected and engaged. A possible common denominator is hidden in the invisible, namely values; every single employee has them and brings them to work.
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