Stop the Madness- Think Circles

You have a clear vision of where you want your organization to go. You understand the challenges you are facing and what needs to happen to bring that vision to life. Your people however don’t seem to get it. The departments appear to function as if they were the only portion of the organization with no regard to issues that appear once their work moves on and communication is minimal. When issues arise it is all about whom to blame. The drama is endless and it is impacting your bottom line. What can you do to stop the insanity?

First, although you may have a clear vision of the future, do your people understand it? Do they understand their role in bringing the vision to life? Do your employees think in terms of internal as well as external customers? Do they ever think to ask what their internal customer needs from them? Do they even take time to communicate to their supplier what they need and why they need it? If not, don’t blame them!

Peter Senge in his book “The Fifth Discipline” speaks of the systems perspective and helping individuals understand how their work influences others. This only occurs when people are taught to think in terms of the whole system as well as evaluated on their ability to communicate with both their suppliers and their internal customers. In order for this to take place your people need to understand the overall vision of the organization and have clear roles and responsibilities. In addition to understanding what they are expected to do they also need to recognize why they are doing it. These steps are extremely important and yet often overlooked. Employees just do “stuff” day in and day out without understanding the importance of their work. Let’s identify how to create a system that flows throughout the organization.

As the leader of the organization your picture of the future needs to be crystal clear. In addition to a clear vision you need to identify what behaviors are necessary to bring it to life. Once established, start with your leadership team and share your perspective of what needs to happen and ask for their feedback. Be careful not to take such ownership in your vision that you refuse to hear their opinions. Once you and your leadership team develop the roles needed to transform your organization, you also need to help them understand their role in modeling the behaviors. In addition, you need to create a plan to roll it out to the organization. An important piece is the communication processes you determine are important for your people to understand why the process is taking place. Cultural change takes place in small increments over time and with consistency can become how we do things around here, and identifying the behaviors needed is key.

The next step is to help them to think in terms of the whole organization. Many organization struggle because departments operate independently instead of thinking through the decisions they make and how it will affect the rest of the organization. By thinking through and communicating with other departments many issues can be discussed and resolved before creating havoc. It takes a change in mindset which enables people to start thinking it terms of the whole instead of just their part, and it starts with leadership showing them how.

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