We all get off track occasionally, but if you are consistently missing targets, then there is likely an underlying culture issue. These are three of the biggest underlying issues we come across:
- Lagging transparency—we’re not proactive in our information sharing, so people find out what they need to know too late, and things fall off track.
- Awkward collaboration—we work together well as individuals, but we fail to connect across department lines or levels in the hierarchy.
- Heavy agility—we move quickly, but we don’t take the time to fix things that are broken or stop things that no longer provide value.
These culture patterns will throw you off, no matter how hard you’re working. But if you can spot the patterns in time, you can stay ahead of the game (without getting burned out).
Your culture patterns are underneath the surface, and they don’t reflect your ideal culture. No one comes to work and thinks,
I’m so excited that a member or customer is going to ask me for information today, and I will, once again, have to tell them I don’t know and I’ll get back to them.
Yet we have cultures that routinely fail to spread information to the people who need it BEFORE they need it. We falsely believe that we are good at transparency, because everyone is willing to share information with each other. That is only part of the issue, because it is fundamentally reactive—without proactive information sharing, your transparency is lagging, and that always slows down results
We had a client that was saddled with the “awkward collaboration” pattern. One of the critical factors for them was the inability to have good conflict conversations. They tackled that directly, developing guidelines for conflict conversations, implementing a system for identifying decision-making roles within projects, and, as a bonus, developing some new KPIs for the organization to help with transparency.
The result? “We just completed 3 major projects in the last cycle, all under budget, and all ahead of schedule,” said their CEO, who felt that kind of performance would have been impossible in the previous culture. The CEO also noticed that the entire staff dealt much more easily and quickly with a major breakdown in their member database, including providing some tough answers to their governing board. In the past that challenge would have produced a lot of stress, delayed reactions, and avoidance of tough issues, but this time they moved through it quickly and easily, freeing them up to get moving on other issues.
If you want more information about our culture assessment, that can help illuminate your patterns, please set up a time to chat.