written by Dr. Larry Senn

Four Ways To Transform Your Culture

Hint: You Must First Transform People

In a survey of top leaders by Booz and Company in 2013 84% of companies surveyed said culture was critical to success and yet the majority admitted their culture needed a major overhaul.

So, how do you transform a culture to meet your company’s needs today? How can you get employees or teams to behave the way you need them to in order to execute your strategies and enhance your performance as well as employee engagement and the customer experience?

We can do that only by improving the behaviors of people. That’s because culture is nothing more than the collective beliefs and habits of the people in an organization. That means we can transform cultures only by creating personal transformation in people. This becomes the challenging part, it is not easy to get adults to change their life-long habits and beliefs.

That was the challenge I personally faced more than 35 years ago as I set out to create a culture-shaping firm. The central question was; how do we change habits of already successful adults? How do we get a seasoned executive who is over-controlling and territorial to collaborate, delegate and coach? Over the almost 40 years of doing culture transformation work, I have learned what has worked when it comes to changing the behaviors of successful adults in a way that results in alignment of healthy behaviors throughout the whole organization, ultimately creating a total culture change.

So what has proven to work?

Think of someone you know who had major shifts in behavior almost overnight. The hamburger-and-fries-eating couch potatoes who start walking regularly and eating better probably had a health scare that got their attention. They had an aha! moment. No one arrives at a major life change intellectually. Change comes from an experience that gets people’s attention and causes them to stop and reflect and shift their mindset.

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written by Mick Ukleja

6 Ways To Make Better Decisions

How do leaders leverage themselves—especially in the area of making good decisions? Group input is highly valuable for the best decisions. However, over-confidence can cause the leader to go solo when he or she feels it suits them. This usually leads to the erosion of others confidence in the executive’s ability to lead.

2 myths distort the process.

Myth #1 — Decisions should be made at the highest level.

Decisions made at the highest level are not always the best decisions for the organization. When this happens problems are not solved. They are temporarily postponed. If this person is surrounded with like-minded thinkers then the illusion of a good decision might lull them into feeling good about what they are doing.

Myth #2 – Good decisions result from consensus.

One element that fosters good decision-making is to see an issue from multiple angles. Without this there’s no divergence from accepted norms, no diversity of thought, and no dissension.

This doesn’t automatically happen nor is it our natural tendency. It must be intentional with built in mechanisms that insure more than one perspective. This fosters creative solutions.

Abraham Lincoln was the surprise winner of a viciously contested primary filled with personal attacks and attempted coup d’états. Lincoln won and then did something that surprised everyone. He put the very men he battled with on his cabinet. He called them his Team of Rivals. They provided a variety of perspectives and tension filled solutions that avoided the yes-man groupthink that mark so many presidential cabinets.

Now you might not put rivals on your team, but Lincoln’s point is well taken. There needs to be the right amount of creative friction to produce the creative tension needed to refine new ideas and challenge old assumptions.

A good leader will know the boiling point so that the tension doesn’t get overbearing or melt the team.

Here’s the real danger: the discussion on teams can shut down quickly, followed by an undue pressure to act on that decision without buy in from those doing the work. The result is sluggish execution that hits another domino where leaders now feel a need to micromanage and mandate.

Organizations need to have their own decision-making process in place that uses the organizations best asset—their people. In doing so the executive is now truly leading everyone on the team.

As you lead your team, try on these six guidelines for better decision-making.

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written by Mick Ukleja

Harnessing the Power of Less

4 Ways Subtracting Choices Becomes a Plus

Who hasn’t been discouraged by lack of follow through or falling short of a desired goal or milestone? There are probably some good objective reasons why this occurred. But one that may go undetected is the surplus of options that we encounter. That might sound strange, for it seems at first glance that options are what allows us to choose well.

Research has shown that too many choices can lead to discouragement, frustration, and ultimately a failure. Fewer choices = better results.

What we label a “lack of willpower” could in fact be too many choices.

There is a famous experiment on the purchase of jams entitled When choice is demotivating. When too many choices of jams (24-30), were presented, sales plummeted. When the choices were limited to 6, sales increased.

This goes against the premise that is promoted in our modern information society. We talk about options as though they were the key to success and satisfaction. It’s a false assumption. We need information like we need food. Yet too much food leads to obesity. It’s time to ban

infobesity: the relentless feast of online information

We want more choices because information is addictive.  Dopamine causes you to want, desire, seek out and search. Dopamine makes you curious about ideas and fuels your search for more information.

It’s nice to have options. Having a few options is better than having none. But too many choices can cripple our ability to succeed. The researchers call it “choice overload.” Reducing our choices can be beneficial.

Here are 4 ways subtracting our choices can become a plus.

1.Fewer choices deliver more satisfaction. Variety is the spice of life, but only to an extent. Too much variety can sour life. Making choices with our values in mind helps point out where the spice of life ends and sourness begins. When “limiting our options” is guided by what is important to us, our options bring personal satisfaction. These become value-based options instead of a smorgasbord of choices.

2. Fewer choices create energy. Extensive choices can have demotivating consequences. When the options are fewer we are more energized to participate. This is true whether we are shopping, joining, investing, or goal setting. The never ending choices do more immobilizing than motivating.

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