You could see the frustration seething like a tortured snake in the inner workings of this CEO’s mind. You could almost hear the thought bubble, “Business would be so much easier if it weren’t for the people!”
Corporate culture need not be frustrating. Nor is it a mystery. It’s a real, tangible, and manageable energy system that can be directed and sculpted.
The first thing you need to know NOW is what are they thinking? Or more precisely, what are they feeling.
To get a sense of what’s going on in your culture, gather the troops. Start with your immediate direct reports. Ask them to share what they are feeling.
YES! I said FEELING.
When I suggested this to my brain scientist client (love saying I have a brain scientist as a client! makes me feel so smart), she responded as if I’d stabbed a baby unicorn.
“FEELINGS? We’re scientists! We don’t talk about that…stuff.”
And hence some issues around culture.
Here’s the formula in getting people to share.
It’s called an, “I Am Statement”.
It has three parts:
1. What happened/is happening?
2. How do you FEEL about it?
3. What are you going to do about it?
“[what’s happening] Business is slow. [how do you feel] I feel frustrated. [what are you going to do about it] I am going to call up some of my key clients and ask them to introduce me to a colleague.”
“[what’s happening] It’s my birthday next week. [how do you feel] I feel excited! [what are you going to do about it] I am going to book a massage and take myself out to lunch with 10 friends.”
“[what’s happening] My program is filling up. [how do you feel] I feel energised! [what are you going to do about it] I am going to amp up the marketing to get even more attendees!”
This simple sharing will give you an immediate insight into the state of mind of your staff, flag any pending disasters and maybe some slow boiling ones, so you can get on top of the issues before they swallow you like an anaconda.
It also teaches your team some basics in Emotional Intelligence – self awareness, and self management. By including, ‘what are you going to do about it’ it encourages personal responsibility for one’s emotional state – and shifts them out of any victim/ woe is me tendencies (and that will make your life much easier!)
And for the gentle introduction to I Am Statements, the Super Quickie Pulse Check can serve well:
Get each person to share how they are feeling on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being ‘put me in a corner and let me rock myself to sleep’ and 5 being ‘I am buzzing so fast the hummingbirds can’t keep up’. Obviously any 1s or 2s need followup, and any 5s require an explanation – or at least an “I’ll have what she’s having’.