Is your culture in survival mode? Everyone is just ‘getting through’ the work relationships because the idea of creating a culture shift is just too overwhelming? If you think about it, culture is really about relationships. Most of us have experienced relationships where we have created both miracles and messes! Navigating the messes (survival) while keeping focused on the miracle of love (surthrival) is often very challenging. It truly is no different in the workplace, the challenge is just elevated because there are more relationships to navigate.
Just like kids go through stages of development to become responsible adults, relationships go through stages of development to become responsive cultures. Every time a person is added or deleted from the ‘system’ of relationships on your team or in your organization, the dynamic of development shifts! You need a lot of agility to navigate a relationship system in the workplace. It is no wonder that culture shifts seem so overwhelming. We have identified 3 first steps that can be integrated right away to support a ‘surthrival’ culture!
Develop a Mindset of Curiosity
Try to imagine your brain as a ‘TV’ where you could switch channels from a ‘knowing’ station to a ‘curious’ station. Why is this important? Agility in relationship is equal to your ability to not only advise and tell but to also wonder and ask questions. Most of us are not mind readers and really don’t know another’s intent, thoughts, feelings, etc. unless we ask. A curious mindset combined with the ability to ask open-ended questions will set the stage for the next two steps.
Create a Designed Alliance
When relationships begin to form, the number one thing that gets in the way of developing trust is lack of clarity. Left to our own devices, we infer, assume, and often make things up in our own heads if we are not feeling safe enough to ask the question. Creating conversation structures that allow for open dialog and clear communication is the first step in shifting cultures. These conversations are a two-way street-not a one-way road! Using a question-based dialog called a designed alliance is a powerful tool to support establishing relationship, and therefore creating an intentional culture. How do we want to interact with one another? What kind of energy or environment do we want? How will we handle it when we don’t agree? These are just a few of the questions we use when we teach people how to design alliances.
Get Clear Agreement
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel that you and the other person or people involved in a conversation are not speaking the same language? Well, you may not be! When people are not clear on the agreed upon topic or reason for the conversation/meeting, assumptions get in the way! A few key elements to getting clear agreement:
State or ask what the meeting/conversation is about and what the purpose for the meeting/conversation is, especially if it is a drive-by gotta minute conversation! If it still seems unclear, ask about outcomes-what do the parties involved want to walk away with? If there is still a lack of clarity, ask what’s important about having that conversation/meeting. Of course, it is helpful if you are initiating the conversation or meeting that you are able to speak to the topic, outcomes and value. If someone else is running the show, train them to be prepared to answer these questions.
Tune in for our next part in Survival to Surthrival Cultures where we address the ‘storm’ of relationships and key steps to support you moving through the storm to appreciate the rainbow on the other side!