Psychologists tell us that our personality doesn’t really change after we reach the age of 5 or 6. It doesn’t mean that we don’t change, just our personalities don’t. I am stuck with mine.
Well, organizations have personalities too. We call this organizational personality “culture”. It is who we are. Culture seems to be a mix of what is important to us, values and priorities, and then how we show these values and priorities to the rest of the world. Unfortunately many organizations seem to have a split personality. It’s as if they lack one crucial dynamic: Alignment. There can inadvertently be a functional disconnect between what they value and what they do. Behaviors that align with values are crucial to having a healthy, whole organizational personality.
Here are three steps that can lead us toward an aligned culture:
- Clarify what is most important to your organization.Some organizations create core values that are encompassing to all that the organization does. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately these platitudes sound too good to be true. What if you created seasonal priorities? These priorities would supersede all other values for a short period of time, maybe 4-6 months. Narrowing down your top priorities can go along way towards alignment.
- Create behavioral patterns that fit completely with your seasonal priorities. Sometimes these behaviors are new and other times they are a slight shift to what you already do. The key is to make sure that what you do is based on what you value.
- Measure the results of your new behavioral pattern in a way that everyone in your organization knows who you are and what you are about. Sometimes we need temporary metrics in order to align our actions to our values.
These three steps can lead us into alignment, and after all, if I am stuck with my personality I might as well use it to build a healthy organization.