Is Your Leadership Team Sabotaging Your Culture Transformation?

The following is an exerpt from Carol Ring's newsletter: The Culture Connection

Have you ever felt like a lone salmon swimming upstream against the current when trying to make change in your organization? Meet Joanna Barclay. For over 3 decades she's worked with leadership teams engaged in business transformation. She is the author of Conscious Culture - How to Build a High Performing Workplace through Values, Ethics and Leadership. 

During a recent virtual fireside chat, she shared her insights on a key aspect to transformational success: how to prevent your leadership team from sabotaging your culture transformation.

Carol: For business transformation to succeed, you always talk about how it needs to be led by a conscious leader. What is a conscious leader?

Joanna: A conscious leader is someone who knows who they are and lives according to their values. By doing this, they are healthier, happier, higher performing and have a positive impact on the world. Unconscious leaders find themselves performing poorly, suffering from dis-ease. 

Carol: Over the past 3 decades, you've facilitated an amazing number of transformations. What would you say is the most important step that most leaders miss when trying to shift their organizations?

Joanna: The most important step is to build leadership team alignment and commitment for transformation. 

Carol: What technique do you use to help your clients build that leadership team commitment?

Joanna: We start by doing an environmental scan with key stakeholders, both external and internal, which helps to unearth the drivers for change. There needs to be a compelling reason why people are going to change.  This exercise brings the leadership team together, understanding why they need need culture alignment for strategic success. If anything in their strategies or their business initiatives needs to change, their culture needs to change with it, and that means culture transformation.

Carol: Can you describe a situation of building leadership team effectiveness for transformation?

Joanna: I had a Director General who was looking to increase Customer Satisfaction.  Clients just didn't want to do business with his department. He had created a Client Service Excellence committee but it wasn't making any progress. His leadership team was disengaged and that attitude permeated down the management ranks. People weren't even showing up to meetings.

Carol: Ouch, sounds like challenging situation. What happened next?

Joanna: We did a Small Group Cultural Assessment with the leadership team. We discovered that excellence, leadership and ethics were the top 3 personal values of the team. However, when asked to describe the current culture, none of these three key values showed up. The leader was too busy telling them what to do, instead of tapping into their natural passion to lead. As a result they had disengaged. Another key element that the assessment exposed was the lack of clarity on mission and purpose.

The group collaborated to build a new and more relevant purpose, and revised the 4 core values to support their strategic direction. The word "leadership" found its way into all aspects of their work. In fact, the title of the Client Service Excellence committee changed to the Client Service Excellence  Leadership Team. As an aligned leadership team they embarked on their transformation. The results of the values culture assessment increased their engagement, and over the next 4 years, client satisfaction increased from 50% to 95%!

Is your leadership team really a team?

Joanna highlights for us the critical role a leadership team plays during transformation. Are the people who report to you really a team or just a collection of individuals? Do you all share a common vision and common values? Leadership team commitment engages and aligns the whole organization. If you'd like to test the level of alignment with your leadership team, contact Joanna to explore what a Culture Values Assessment can do for you.

Wishing you success,

Carol Ring

The Culture Connection


Is Your Leadership Team Sabotaging Your Culture Transformation? | Asia Professional Speakers Singapore


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