What is positive change? What is a positive organization? Why would we bother to practice positive leadership, and create a positive culture? For some, the answer is obvious, for others not at all.
As we have seen in my blog post on positive leadership: the why is rather obvious. We want to help positive change succeed and create a positive organization because it makes people happier and more productive. The performance of a positive organization can be astounding.
In my last post, I introduced you to the machine maintenance company MM that faced increasing competition and had to become more profitable. However, the CEO’s response was to push hard for more efficiency and focus on the numbers which led to micro-management. Combined with their current culture tendency to organize everything in a phonebook of rules and procedures, they were slowing down, and they felt stifled.
In this series about Culture, Change, and Leadership we’ve discussed how organizational change can fail or be successful and how organizational culture can help or hinder. This article provides an overview of what we’ve covered thus far - including my Change Circle approach.
You probably know about the 70% failure rate of organizational change. One of the reasons is that change programs don’t align with the current culture. A more fundamental cause is the conventional command and control mindset and linear worldview of many leaders and employees.
After looking at some powerful questions based on the Competing Values Framework, let’s look at this case that illustrates the crucial role of (positive) leadership. It shows how an “old-fashioned” CEO stifles an organization and how one division considers taking ownership of their change. Positive leadership started with asking different questions and giving their staff more space and trust to solve the challenges of this division…
Of course, positive leadership as discussed before entails more than asking questions. But let’s focus on the art of asking questions to facilitate successful organizational change. I’ll share one question based on the OCAI and the Competing Values Framework that helps people define what successful change would mean for their organization.
Why would you bother with Culture? Simple: if you don't work with culture, it might work against your organization's much-needed change. And you'll never know what hit you... Or, maybe you have your suspicions - as we can see from the research findings below:
You’ve witnessed the collective intelligence that can be used in an effective OCAI-workshop or Change Circle in the University Library case I shared. Positive leadership is an enabler for this collective intelligence to emerge...
We understand what current culture entails from values down to behaviors and we have identified the “shadow side”: the less-effective behaviors that we would like to stop, do less of, or change in any way.