We all get stuck in our habits, and business is no exception. The issue at hand is, instead of one life being burdened by the choice to eat chocolate in the morning as a way to start the day, an entire organization, spanning tens, hundreds or even thousands of people, gets stuck in a method of behavior it deems successful. Given that one individual takes nearly a month of repeated action or inaction to make or destroy a habit (according to zenhabits.net) how long would it take an entire company?
Change can come from two directions, directed from above, or from within. An example of a directed from above change would be the company-wide announcement, or executive team meeting, which rattles many chains and lots of talking happens, but, unfortunately, nothing really changes. In personal life, this would be creating your environment to reflect the changes you want, like cleaning your kitchen to make sure you keep your kitchen clean. Sure, in the short term, it works, but if you purpetuate your old habits, that kitchen will get messy again.
Then we come to the change which emerges from within, the kind which is directed by passion, creativity and intelligence. Every worker in a knowledge company has some degree of these, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. We use these factors to make the changes we need to make in our own life. Eventually, our inner creative need outs itself in a dramatic display to be seen and heard.
In an organization, how can one harness this vast creative force and channel it into a direction? It seems that people’s personal goals MUST differ from the organization because people are so diverse. Well, when we gather people by ability and experience, then of course, the interests will be diverging. Yet, what if we gathered people by interest, and put them in a position to learn and prosper utilizing those interests. Then they develop a passion that is reinforced daily.
How do you then remain flexible enough to incorporate new interests?
It’s all in the foundation you build and the leadership you maintain. Here’s some guidelines for ideals off the top of my head as to how this could be accomplished:
(note: while this is derived from my experience as a worker, none of it have I actually incorporated and pass off as actual wisdom)
1) Anonymous White Board – A general purpose online discussion, where everything is public, but anonymous, so grievances can be aired, and the culture of the organization can be measured.
2) Channel Growth from Bottom Up – A facility for those engaged with the day to day work of an organization to discuss efficiency improvements, market research, product ideas or other ideas amongst each other in order to push the organization towards achieving a common goal, instead of one person’s vision.
3) Interchangability – Everyone in the organization should have access to the resources necessary, either in documentation, training or people, to do the work of everyone else. One day a week should be devoted to interchangeability and discussing efficiency improvements. This way, even in middle sized companies, everyone gets to be CEO for a day, and understand the challenges involved, as well as receive respect for the job they normally occupy.
Anyway, maybe this will inspire a better world somewhere, which is really what this is all about.