By Kathy Hagler
The Wisconsin School of Business Center for Professional & Executive Development is proud to partner with Human Synergistics International to provide assessments and data into your leadership style, organizational culture, agility, and readiness for change. The following article by Kathy Hagler was published to the Human Synergistics Constructive Culture blog on December 17, 2021.
Recently, people from different areas of my life have asked me if today’s problems are too big to solve. They fearfully wonder about what tomorrow will bring. What will be the new normal in their work and personal lives? While the issues today are more complex—and more intense—than I’ve seen before, the root cause of our problems is the same: We are all struggling to survive when we want to thrive—and so are our organizations.
Having spent a lifetime helping and healing organizations, I can assure you that we can move from crisis to creation. It’s all about choice. Most of us are good at knowing what we don’t want, but not what we do want. This causes us to react subconsciously as opposed to intentionally and consciously setting a course. But without a vision and conscious choices to move in that direction, we will tread water—sometimes until we drown.
Using intention and inclusion—consciously and jointly changing, adapting, and improving—involves a five-step process:
- Stop broken thoughts and feelings
- Consciously calm fear
- Allow connection with others
- Reinvent actions and processes
- Share the outcome
Step One: Stop the Brokenness
There are plenty of factors that divide us and put us at odds in the workplace today. A climate that is hard to navigate has been created by: Dealing daily with pandemic burnout and new mitigation strategies for Covid; the need for hybrid work solutions; the desire for inclusion, diversity, and equality; the Great Resignation and today’s hiring challenges; supply chain constraints; and more.
Remember, every individual brings their baggage and concerns to the workplace (or to school, etc.). To heal this brokenness, we must stop the wounded frame of mind and shine a light on the issues by naming them and seeing them as opportunities for growth and renewal.
Step Two: Consciously Calm Fears
As I mentioned above, the root of all the stress and chaos is a primitive drive to survive. With a virus circulating in many workplaces, survival takes on a literal meaning, making people even more stressed. Underneath it all, most people want to find meaning and purpose in their work, not just a paycheck. They want to know what their workplace will look like in one to five to ten years, specifically if it can transform into a place that enriches and expands them.
Fear is natural, so welcome it! We all want to move from fear to comfort as soon as we can. But we can learn to honor our fear, recognizing its arrival, listening to its intelligence, and respecting it as a harbinger of transformation. Indeed, it informs us that the change we are contemplating is significant, enabling us to approach it with the proper reverence.
Step Three: Allow Connection with Others
Organizations operate effectively only when their members share in creating the vision (where the organization is headed) and mission (its reason for being). The intentional inclusion of individuals in their workplace allows them to regularly evaluate their shared strategic direction and reaffirm passion for their mission. It becomes their professional calling and their avenue for growth and satisfaction.
Step Four: Reinvent Actions and Processes
Once members are included in creating direction and reaffirming purpose, they then must regularly explore:
- What are our stakeholders’ needs?
- How will we address these needs in the most efficient and effective manner?
- Are all our members prepared with the latest and best tools and skills to do so successfully?
- “How are we doing?” must be asked of and answered regularly by external stakeholders and workplace members.
One of the best ways to get individuals to engage in and guide the future of the organization is to have them (as stakeholders) assess the processes and procedures currently in place and suggest areas for improvement. This may result in, for example, process reinvention, additional staff development opportunities like cross training, and engaging in new efforts designed to increase job satisfaction and opportunities for advancement.
Step Five: Share the Outcomes
Developing both quantitative and qualitative data on results is key. While it’s true that (almost) everyone wants to feel good about what they are doing, sharing information on specific improvements allows all team members to understand how they have contributed to the work and accomplishments! It also elevates confidence in the vision, mission, and processes in place.
Human Synergistics provides the necessary tools for analyzing and reporting on the workplace: the Ideal and Current versions of the Organizational Culture Inventory®. Using the two forms of the culture survey together with the Organizational Effectiveness Inventory™ provides the ideal vision of the culture, the current view of the culture and climate (including the reciprocity between the two), and the specific gaps that need to be addressed. Used in conjunction with qualitative focus group input, the exact map of workplace satisfaction and success is not only ready to be drawn and defined, it is also within reach.
If you’d like to learn more about these assessments, set up a Discovery Session and one of our Solutions Advisors will work with you to identify how these assessments can benefit your organization.
We can meet the challenges in 2022 and thrive. We must be intentionally inclusive, focused on our future vision, and diligent in our search for meaning through qualitative and quantitative feedback on our values, beliefs, their resultant behaviors and our shared successes. Let’s all choose a thriving culture for our future.
About the Author
Kathy Hagler, PhD, is the founder of K2OHSOLUTIONS and author of Art of Scars (Sept, 2021). Known as an organizational healer in the industry, Hagler partners with organizations through good times, crises, challenges, and obstacles, and moves their culture, climate, and character forward with clear vision, strategic intent, and success in an everchanging world. Mentored by both Dr. Peter Drucker and Dr. W. Edwards Deming, long considered the fathers of management, Hagler is, herself, a pioneer in the field of organizational development. To learn more about Hagler or Art of Scars, go to www.kathyhagler.com.