Archive for February, 2008

Keeping It Simple…

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

In the field of OD-related consulting, there is never a shortage of required reading and new learning opportunities. Books, magazines, webinars, podcasts arrive and pile up – it can get a little overwhelming at times. You try to prioritize, find new techniques to more efficiently tackle the task at hand, etc. and do your best.
Therefore, it is always refreshing when you happen to stumble across something that resonates particularly when you were not even looking for it. When opening my mail today, I found the Spring edition of the short quarterly newsletter from the SHRM Texas State Council, “HR Matters”. I skimmed through the issue and flipped to the cover article “Create a Winning Corporate Culture”. It was written by Dr. Gary Bradt, author of the recent book, The Ring in the Rubble: Dig Through Change and Find Your Next Golden Opportunity. Dr. Bradt also runs a consultancy practice based in North Carolina (Bradt Leadership Inc.) along with his wife, Dr. Peggy Bradt.

Although the article is fairly short and straightforward (outlining Bradt’s five basic steps to building a successful corporate culture), what struck me was this concise passage:

“Some leadership teams attempt to create culture by acting as wordsmiths, spending untold hours carefully crafting vision, mission and values statements. That’s unfortunate, because in the end culture is not created by words plastered on the wall or carried around on laminated cards, but rather culture is defined by actions on the ground”

Dr. Bradt goes on to say…

“It’s not that words don’t have a place in creating culture; they most certainly do. But a winning culture is defined by words so simple and basic a child can grasp them easily, and an executive can explain them quickly. And, in a winning culture, a leader’s words and actions are aligned. What leaders say accurately reflects the way things are.”

As simple as this sounds, I think the number of organizations that ultimately adopt this approach are few and far between. Organizations that utilize simple and easily communicated principles to guide and drive their business. Leaders who “walk the talk”, leveraging these same key principles in everything the do, encouraging others to do the same and rewarding those who do.

As Dr. Bradt notes at the end of his article:

“If I have made creating a winning culture sound simple, that’s because it is. Don’t muck it up by making it more complex than it needs to be.”

What do you think?

PS: I found an alternative online version of the above referenced article from Dr. Bradt here.


Monday, February 11th, 2008

I recently had the pleasure of hearing a wonderful webcast from the AMA featuring the notable management expert Charles A. Handy (author of The Age of Unreason, The Elephant and the Flea, and most recently, Myself and Other More Important Matters just to name a few). This was an extremely thought-provoking presentation from a very insightful man. AMA Edgewise has posted an additional free podcast featuring Handy – you can download it from here.

In his webcast, Handy uses a concept derived from Aristotle – “eudaimonia“, to describe what success in work truly is. In a recent article (Spring 2007) from The Business Strategy Review of the London School of Business, Handy defines the term in this way:

“My definition of success is basically borrowed from Aristotle. He called it “eudaimonia”. I translate it as doing the best at what you’re best at, for the good of others. That sounds trite and easy, but it is very difficult to know what you’re best at.”

You can read more of the interview here. Here’s another quote from Handy regarding leadership found in a short interview he did last year with BBC TV reporter and communications coach Katie Ledger (from Katie’s Blog):

“The secret to great leadership? It’s simple: 1. Know yourself. 2. Know and trust your people. 3. Know what you’re about and make sure your people know what you’re about.”

Do yourself a favor…take a little time to get better acquainted with Charles Handy.