Question: Creating Lasting Culture Change

Another Day

You've been in meetings all day. Your interruptions have been interrupted. In fact, you're not even sure which interruption started everything today. The morning, (Did you even eat lunch?) seems like light-years ago. Is it Wednesday already?

For just a minute, you wish for the good-old-days - you know, six months ago, before the staff reduction when you just thought you were busy. "Will this really get better any time soon? Will we settle down in the next month, two months? Six months? Will I even get home before the kids are asleep?"

What if?

This wouldn't be so hard if your team would step it up, or absorb some slack. It seems like "every man for himself" since the staff reduction. You're not certain but you suspect some people have moved vacation time up because they're looking for work. It's just so frustrating because, especially since the staff reduction, nothing good happens by accident. No one's work is perfect. No one just takes the initiative to solve a problem and then tell you about it. They all want to tell you about it first. Everyone feels like they have to ask permission for the stuff they should know and the things they don't ask about get screwed up!

For a moment you daydream about a team where members absorb chaos, take initiative, improvise, adapt, overcome. (Sounds like Heartbreak Ridge.) Back on track, you start to consider how you can get everyone rowing in the same direction. What can you do to we get the team helping one another, taking initiative, and reaching goals. You've got to make the change from task orientation to goal orientation. You've got to take the lead, but this time, your goal is to create a leadership machine; a culture that builds leaders. You know this is going to take time, but you have to do it. Otherwise soon they'll find you hunched over your desk mumbling.

So you ignore your email and IM. Check your watch and realize you've got about 45 minutes before you need to leave if you're going to see the kids this evening for any quality time. What can you do in 45 minutes to begin to turn the tide?

So, what would you recommend to this business person?

In 45 minutes can they develop a plan of action that begins tomorrow and eventually creates a leadership culture. Can you help them begin tomorrow to create a shared, repeatable process for identifying, developing, testing, and launching leaders? What's their first step?

Take a moment and leave a comment or suggestion below. Let us share your thoughts on how to help this leader turn things around.

This was an intro I wrote a few months back for our Lead Change Tulsa breakfast discussion series. If you'd like to know more about starting a leadership group in your community, Contact Us.

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