Organisations sometimes get stuck in habits and norms. Sometimes this is helpful – things are stable. At other times these habits and norms can get in the way: whatever we do to make improvements, somehow things just go back to the way they were.
The act, and art, of leadership is knowing when stability is a good thing, and when things are stuck. And doing what is needed to either preserve stability, or to help unstick things.
These habits and norms show up in the rituals, stories and symbols that are everywhere in organisations. In systems and procedures, and in the way people get around these too. And they show up in behaviour – most obviously in how we to talk together.
Leaders can start to shift organisational habits and norms by changing the way they speak, and listen. This affects other people, and also affects the rituals, symbols and stories, and, over time, systems and procedures too.
Leaders can also create space for the right type of conversation – for example, stopping conversations that go round and round. And instead encouraging real understanding, new ideas, concrete proposals and decisions that everyone buys-in to.
This is true for conversations about strategy, direction, projects and programmes. About day-to-day operational issues too. Better conversations build participation – which leads to increased well-being, productivity, resilience and growth. For individuals and for the organisation.
None of this is rocket-science. You can do it all yourself. In fact, it's yours to do – people outside your organisation can only do so much to help. But if you would like some support, please feel free to get in touch, using the details above.