I have written in the past how leaders will need to change how they lead and how organizations will need to be structured differently to stay competitive in the future. The demand for talent will continue to grow and only those who can adapt to these changes will thrive. This may not happen for years or decades, but I believe it will happen and we are already starting to see the shift begin.
So, where does this leave you in 2013? If you are in a group or organization where change must happen, is slow to happen, or is just starting to happen, how do you begin making a real difference in your company culture this year?
There will be the usual temptation to start adding or changing process or tweaking organizational structure first. While there is a place for these things, resist the urge to jump into them without focusing on how people should work together and treat each other first.
That is, how can our teams begin to work as a network of well-functioning, self-accountable, and respectful communities regardless of process or hierarchy?
This journey begins with the basics and to start, hire and design your teams to be:
Welcoming. When new members or visitors arrive on your team, they are greeted warmly and openly. Maybe given the royal treatment (like Zappos does!), entertained with a song, or surprised with a decorated cube or a welcoming banner. Small things make a difference!
Affirming. Your teams should be a place of confidence and growth. Success is celebrated. Failure is a learning experience and celebrated. Honest mistakes are forgiven.
Non-threatening. Your teams should be a place of safety where people can truly be themselves. Over the years, I have seen many examples of people who would display or act with a persona at work that is different from their real personality when at home or with friends. This is sad.
Generous. The people on your teams give their time and expertise to other team members freely. Teams will gel quickly and people will find their place of contribution when team members give of themselves.
Perhaps this is all a bit quixotic but as with anything we need to start somewhere and starting will require making small, daily decisions followed by intentional action. Begin making these decisions today and slowly start coaching others to follow.
We’ll cover many aspects of building incredible teams and organizational communities throughout future posts. Make 2013 an incredible year for your people! Happy New Year!