Posts Tagged ‘change the culture with drastic action’

Day 136-137: How to Lead by THE BOOK: When Drastic Action is Required!

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

As I completed my chapter on how culture changes behaviors within organizations for How to Lead by THE BOOK, I included examples of when drastic action is required to change a culture. I also outlined the importance of leaders becoming students of behaviors rather than students of “the numbers”. Here are the excerpts to explain:

Drastic action is sometimes required

Occasionally, a culture has devolved to the point where the organization cannot, or shouldn’t, be saved. In other words, it has reached the point of no return where no leader; set of values, mission, standards, competencies or group of people can turn things around. In these cases, it’s better to fold up the tents, clean house, and start over with a new leader. Or, if you’re God, you send a flood.

One of the saddest passages in THE BOOK is found in Genesis 6:5-7. No new vision here, a new culture was needed:

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man, and beast, creeping thing, and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

Twelve chapters later, God decided that the grave sin of Sodom and Gomorrah warranted obliteration. As Jude described centuries later:

But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode. He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Jude 5-7.

Be a student of behaviors

You cannot change a culture by changing the “numbers.” Yet many leaders pride themselves as great students of the numbers. Instead, they should become a student of behaviors, because the behaviors portend where the numbers are headed.

The “numbers” in your organization are a result of the culture. This is because culture dictates behaviors and behaviors determine results. By carefully watching the daily behaviors of your people, you can intervene and strengthen the culture and subsequent behaviors before the numbers show up. On the other hand, if you’re watching only for the numbers, all you’re seeing are the lagging indicators. Numbers show up too late to change anything! It’s like confusing the scoreboard for the game. If all you’re doing is gazing at the scoreboard, you’re missing the game—and the opportunity to influence the behaviors within the game that determine what goes up on the scoreboard.

When you study behaviors within your organization, you can effectively predict the future. The daily behaviors of your people will tell you exactly where the numbers are headed. In fact, your organization’s past culture-induced behaviors have brought you to where you are today.