Transitions in business, or any organization for that matter, need connect how they start and how they end. Too often, leadership within many organizations seem to spend more time focusing on their future direction than where they are. And examining how the organization found themselves in their current reality rarely gets done.
Looking forward is laudable. Every organization should constantly look to the future, reading the signs of culture and trying to navigate the currents of the environments in which it sails. Semiotics is an important part of the future. Look at the signs and patterns within culture. What are they pointing to? What kind of future do they describe? As leaders, uncovering those patterns is essential for charting an unpredictable future.
But what many fail to do is to understand how the organization operates in the moment. What is needed is not to understand how leadership believes or thinks or assumes the organization operates. What is needed is to understand the current organizational culture and determine how, in reality, it is operating.
Leaders like to think that their organization works within the vision statement and the values they place on the placard in the company lobby. But it rarely works that way. Organizational leadership needs to fully understand the hidden culture within it and determine how that affects what happens. The hidden sub-culture is a powerful driver of corporate activity, and a failure to understand that within each department or corporate layer can be the downfall of many within leadership.
In any organization, at any point in its existence, one of the primary tasks of leadership is to define reality.
How do we do this?
First, start internal. Bring in people from multiple departments. These need to be leaders – those with titles and those without – in each of the various departments. Department …read more
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