A True Story for All of My Pragmatists Out There!
Wow! Talk about a response to a blog! I’ve received more feedback on this blog than any other to date. On my website, in emails and in every one of my meetings held over the last three weeks. In fact, I felt like Curley from the movie City Slickers
where everyone wanted to know the one thing about life!! Now I understand why there are so many books, professors and other experts pontificating on the key points about driving a successful culture.
A business leader put the following statement before me and laid down the gauntlet in the game that is creating culture. He said, “I understand the importance of a supportive culture, but cut the theory and give me a tool that I can use to help me get on the right path!” Ahh… you’ve got to love those pragmatists. So here is a brief synapses of the discussion we had in his office.
First off, I told him how shocked I was that he was asking a consultant to work with him on an actionable tool. He agreed that it was a stretch for me (despite my stellar skills) but he was confident that I had witnessed this many times with other clients and assumed that I had copyrights on the stolen process. Obviously he knows me well! So we then moved over to the white board and let the knowledge flow forth.
On the white board I wrote these three words: Clarity, Reality, Discipline.
1) Clarity – The desired state, easy to understand with a minimum of worldly adjectives. (Can you get things done?)
2) Reality- The actions required to make this culture true-to-life given today’s structure and processes.
3) Discipline– Did he, as a leader, have the regulation necessary to support all of these actions totally? (No wink and a smile.)
During the course of this conversation, this same leader brought up on his computer his own published vision for the business. We then had a lengthy and rather heated conversation on today’s culture and proceeded to outline it on the white board. For you Lean aficionados out there, this should be a very exciting time because we went on to develop a cultural Gap analysis.
Once he saw the Gap, he went to his vision and crossed out two items that would fail because the reality of the business would not allow them to happen. He then looked at me and said, “We have a huge pink elephant in the middle of the office and it is of my doing, I hate feeling like an idiot.” He went on further to say that, “We need to chop this baby up and digest it a piece at a time, so we need to prioritize our actions with a workable time line. This ain’t going to be easy but we have to do it, otherwise we will never get to the level of success we all deserve.”
My goal for this blog has always been two-fold. First, I have the opportunity to share my insights and years of experience with you, the reader. And second, I myself get to hear your thoughts, opinions, experiences, etc. To make this blog a mutually beneficial experience, I would ask that you take the time to post your comments, your questions and your own war stories from your years in the business. Let’s use this blog to generate dialogue on the issues we’ve all faced in our businesses and work together to come to some great solutions.