CEO Lou Solomon had a chronic habit of being tardy to meetings—until she received feedback from a client in a cordial but no-nonsense manner about how the image she was projecting could impede her success. She’s been early to meetings ever since and shared her experience in a 2016 HBR.org article, “Two-Thirds of Managers Are Uncomfortable Communicating with Employees.” Solomon says, “When offered with respect, honest feedback—even when critical—can have a major impact on your career and your personal life.”1
When it comes to shaping a thriving workplace culture, the influence of leaders on their organizations’ overall performance cannot be overemphasized. They serve as role models whose conduct and behavior are expected to align with their organizations’ values. While recent months have provided a deluge of executives and leaders who have lost their way, it’s a compelling time for change agents to help organizations shape their culture for a constructive future.1
Last month I had the privilege of attending the 2nd Annual Ultimate Culture Conference in San Francisco, hosted by Human Synergistics. One of many reasons for me to take the 12-hour flight from Switzerland was to be in the company of thought leaders in workplace culture, such as Dr. Edgar Schein. Among the many insights he shared, one in particular struck a chord with me: the different methods of surveying for culture data. Dr. Schein described two-dimensional (2D), 3D and 4D views one can take when trying to understand a company’s culture. My experience is similar, and it prompted me to draw out the following analogy.