Moving On Up – From Good To Great

Moving On Up From good to great

I’ve had the pleasure in recent weeks of travelling from France to Spain, via the Pyrenees, on the back of a Ducati motorbike. 

It’s been a journey with breathtaking sights and experiences, and while I’ve spent most of the time in holiday mode, I’ve occasionally had some business-related insights and learning experiences that I captured on video along the way.

Culture is a ‘lead indicator’

One of the insights relates to planning and strategising. Most businesses put some attention on planning and strategising in some of the critical areas of the business; financial management, risk management, digital transformation, etcetera, but few businesses give serious thought to planning for cultural change. And even when they do, they don’t always invest the resources that cultural change really deserves. 

A recent article from the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) says that "Culture is a lead indicator versus a ‘financial lag indicator’ of the health of the business." 

So if that’s the case, what is your organisation doing in regard to culture to keep yourself ahead of the pack? Are you being proactive or are you waiting for the financials, the ‘lag indicator’ to tell you you have a culture problem?

Inflexible leadership is a thing of the past

The contrast between clusters of old architecture and clusters of modern architecture in Ainsa, Spain got me thinking about the contrast between ‘traditional’ and modern styles of leadership.

Sometimes in organisations we find the senior executive team, showing a traditional and inflexible style of leadership, and the younger, newer generation in the workforce, often in the lower end of the organisational chart, yearning for a more modern and flexible style of leadership, congregate together in separate groups.

This may initially may seem suitable, except left unattended, this divide only grows, and the culture becomes fractured. The emerging talent of tomorrow doesn't want to be appointed to higher management positions, forced to show that traditional leadership style. 

And they, along with the new young talent, wanting to show more initiative and creativity, leave the organisation looking for workplaces in which they feel valued and listened to. And often I hear senior executives justify this by saying ‘they weren't a good fit’. 

But for how long can that excuse exist when market share is being lost, and the competitors are only taking more and more of that market share? 

Change and disharmony

On this part of my European ‘moving on up’ journey, I'm in the town of Cangas de Onís, in the Asturias region of Spain. This area was invaded by the Romans, who built this bridge in the 13th century. 

Interestingly, while the Romans gained dominance and collected taxes, they provided many benefits to the people through improved infrastructure, processes, and providing a sense of security. 

I've witnessed many situations when new managers have been appointed to teams and rather than assessing the benefit they can provide to the team, they impose new management and leadership styles, new standards, and new processes; creating tension, disharmony, and ultimately decreased individual and team performance. 

We are often engaged to redefine harmony for teams. And by harmony, I don't mean everyone being nice to each other. I mean, by finding ways to have constructive communications and an improved, positive, and collaborative workplace culture. 

The difference between good and great

Moving on up over the Cantabrian Mountains I was able to survey the vast valley of vineyards below which make up part of the Rioja Region, home to many many bodegas, or wineries, some enjoying international acclaim for their wines and/or their stunning modern architecture. 

And while I was there I did enjoy a number of winery tours. The guides wanting to tell us about their investment in scientific research, new technologies and careful consideration of blending traditional and modern processes. 

The bodegas that enjoyed the international success for the quality of their wines also had something different, something extra, and that was a buzz. The positive vibe of their culture was palpable. Their workers were happy. Their workers expressed pride in being associated with the winery, passion for the tasks that they were doing, knowing that they contributed to the success or failure of the final product. 

They showed respect for every step in the process, from planting and tending the vines in dusty soil to bottling the wine in sterile conditions. They shared their excitement as they described the initiatives they were involved in or the small projects they were doing and they interacted with each other in a friendly and courteous manner, just as they did with the tourists. 

This was exciting for me because it's proof again that good organisations invest in infrastructure and process. It's the great organisations that not only do that but also invest in their people. A great organisation that wants to continue enjoyable success and a lion's share of the market knows that they have to continually invest and look after their people. 

And when there is a positive, constructive, collaborative environment, staff give of their hearts and their minds and that's when true success is achieved on a sustained level. 

So if your organisation is currently good because they've invested in structure and process, think about moving up to being great and investing in your people. 

We'd like you to partner with Workplace Harmony Solutions to implement our Moving On Up From Good to Great cultural transformation program. 

Together, working with an internally co-designed shared vision, and some important focus on some strategic factors, we can help your organisation move with a unified approach, and move on up to be an industry leader again. 

It is possible, and to find out more contact us by email.

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About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.