“I don’t know everyone’s name. I’m embarrassed because I think I should know their names.”
When I interviewed the president of a big insurance firm, I didn’t realize that I’d strike a nerve so soon after our conversation began. This was years ago, but my recollection is powerful.
I often ask the leaders for whom I consult two simple questions:
First, “Do you need positive feedback to do your best at work—like you need air and water?” Typically, a small percentage will say yes.
Second, I ask the question with a twist: “When you get an ‘atta-boy’ or ‘atta-girl,’ does it make a difference?” Almost everyone, every time, says yes!
When I speak with senior leaders, I ask them about their organization’s performance. They are quick to note where results are stellar and where they have a need for improvement. They are very familiar with their performance data and share it with little hesitation.
When I ask these same senior leaders about the quality of their work culture, they stumble. They hesitate. They don’t have the data regarding the effectiveness of their work culture at their fingertips.
Why are most leaders so comfortable with tracking results and, at the same time, so disconnected from understanding the health of their work culture?
Do you fully understand your culture and how it’s impacting performance? Are you managing a clear journey to effectively evolve your culture with a direct and sustainable impact on performance? There aren’t many leaders that can confidently answer “yes” to these two questions. We see culture tips and advice at every turn that range from superficial to endlessly complicated. If you are like me, it’s hard to understand what to believe.
It’s very important for leaders and change agents to learn from the culture pioneers and experts in this evolving field. Human Synergistics, therefore, convenes an annual Ultimate Culture Conference to bring visibility to important insights from culture trailblazers and progressive leaders.
The Beatles—arguably one of the greatest bands in history—did not become that way by accident. Many stories abound about their long time playing nightly in Hamburg, getting to know and be in sync with one another. This could be the epitome of creating a truly high-performing team. But what about leadership?