Our recent change management articles are found below.
Diversity has always been around, we have just tried to ignore it. The ones who were proactive and culturally intelligent are the ones now who are thriving in this economy. It is still not too late to catch up!
Customers and employees become disengaged and they choose your competition when they feel frustrated, confused or dissatisfied. Understanding how cultural background, such as generation, gender, profession, nationality AND personality type influence how they feel, think and behave is the strategic advantage of successful companies and managers.
Although…this is easier to be said than done.
What has changed?
The world is rapidly changing: increasing globalisation and mobility of workforce, super-connected cities and countries, dealing with people of many different national, ethnic, cultural, social, and generational backgrounds on a daily basis.
Companies can hire the best of the best from all over the world and they can do business in almost any countries. Still, over 70% of international projects fail. Why? Because culture is not just about arts and literature, it is the software of the mind, it determines how we think, behave and make decisions. If the programs are compatible, everything runs smoothly, if they are not, they will crash badly. That is one of the main reasons why the UK loses £48 billion a year according to UKTI (2015).
Why is it not about common sense?
Culture is our blueprint…what the world should be like… Cultural Intelligence is the ability to read the blueprint…it is one of the main parts of global mindset.
Just imagine that you see the blueprint of your house for the first time and we assume you are not an engineer or architect. Even if you live there, you are not aware of different parts, different technical terms, how things work…for instance how the wires are connected so when you switch on the light, it is bright inside….it just happens.
If somebody asks you to explain how it works, after all, you have been living there for years, probably you couldn’t explain it. As our identity has both learnt and inherited parts as well, and we are often unaware of them, most people would find it difficult to explain all the imprinted values and beliefs influencing us. Once we learn to read a blueprint, the structure behind cultural intelligence, we will be able to recognise and understand behaviour in a fast-paced, multicultural environment
Global mindset is not about learning how to like people from other cultures, it is about learning to understand them…if we can see a situation from their perspective, we might find out that there is a better solution or one that is equally logical to ours.
Diversity without inclusion turns into liability
We have heard a lot about Diversity recently. It is a buzzword. It is trendy.
The Oxford Dictionary defines a buzzword as a slogan created by a group of people working within a business just to generate hype. Some companies employ people who are different across dimensions like gender, age and race, who have different experiences and perspectives. They talk about diversity like teenagers talk about sex:
”Of course, we do it and we are great at it!”
Usually that is not the case and although practice makes perfect, it is not enough without some specific knowledge.
Have you ever fallen out with your colleagues because you did not agree on something? Or maybe you felt you could not contradict your parents? You felt frustrated and inferior? Well, that was not inclusive then! Be inclusive first before you get more diverse, it will not work the other way round. Increasing diversity without understanding it is like buying new software for our computer without knowing if it is compatible or it will crash the system. DIVERSITY is the mixture of differences; INCLUSION is the right mixture of people managed with Cultural Intelligence. One is a minefield and the other is a gold mine
The Global Mindset
The world is our BIG DATA and we filter all that incredible amount of information through our unconscious biases…the little categories we try to fit everything we see. The conscious mind is limited, it tries to analyse the information while the unconscious mind starts seeing a pattern we might not even be aware of..
Our biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment, personal experiences and they have enormous impact on what we consider to be true and logical. Even if we refuse to admit it, we all have this…we all have a first impression of someone which seldom changes. The reason is not necessarily our expertise in understanding people, but the subconscious distortion of the information processes by our brain….
Unconscious bias is like Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” function: we quickly find what we are looking for. Most of the people are quite happy about this function, it saves time and hassle with the added bonus of feeling fortunate.
Global Mindset is about connecting with ourselves and others by learning to see the world from different perspectives. Instead of relying on ‘feeling lucky’ we make some effort to check different results, different ways of searching so we might find something even better than we were looking for!
Step 1: Building Awareness
The foundation of cultural intelligence is understanding how our personality and cultural background influences the way we see the world and how others see us. Without a strong sense of who you are and how your own culture has influenced and shaped you, you are very unlikely to know how to respond to other cultures or have the confidence to mediate our behaviour in the light of our discoveries. This is the first step where we consciously notice diversity.
Step 2: Building Competency
Diversity exists because different cultures have found different ways of solving a problem. Understanding the logic behind their thinking allows us to find better ways or at least to accept theirs. There is a scientific structure behind behaviour which explains that we are all unique, but predictably different. This is the step where we consciously understand diversity.
Step 3: Building Skills
Pointing out differences does not help too much…we need to find similarities and complementary traits to build a common ground. The difference between knowing something and applying that knowledge is the difference between success and failure. This is the step where we consciously turn diversity into inclusion by learning how to make the most of our differences.
Global mindset is the result of cultural intelligence, although it is never a final product of it. This is a never-ending process with the highest return on investment as 85% of success is down to people skills.
Csaba Toth MA, MSC, FCMI, is European Managing Partner of ICQ Consulting which helps clients measure and leverage personal and cultural differences to turn diversity into profitable inclusion instead of a painful liability.
He developed the internationally accredited and endorsed framework InterCultural DISC™ which helps people understand and connect with others who have different behaviour and communication styles due to their cultural background. The book, Intercultural DISC™ , is due out soon.
Contact Csaba on csaba@ICQConsulting.com or feel free to connect with him on Linkedin.
In our recent interviews with Professor Kim Cameron and Michelle McQuaid both mentioned Robert E. Quinn’s The Positive Organization as a book worth reading for insight and ideas. It is not difficult to see why, as Quinn’s short book (less than 160 pages from cover to cover) is packed with ideas, examples, case studies and practical exercises, written in an engaging and straightforward style.
Throughout, Quinn challenges us to consider a different way of thinking, and to thinks about how we can effectively participate in building a positive organisation. A key strength of the book is that it has actionable lessons for all, regardless of job role or responsibility, from board room to shop floor. Each chapter concludes with a tool to use with teams in self-assessment and development, as well as questions to encourage the reader to reflect and set aspirations, to deepen learning.
The central premise of the book is that building a positive organisation requires accountability and authenticity, that for it to be successful it has to be emergent and self-generating. This approach is built on listening, consultation and empowerment at all levels.
What marks this book apart from many others is both the effectiveness of Quinn’s model, as well as the Positive Organization Generator – over 100 real-life examples of how organisations have successfully increased their positivity.
Mental Maps and bilingualism
Quinn suggests that the culture of an organisation can be summarised in a mental map – an indication of what a company believes and assumes, covering domains such as Motivation, Status and Change. Most organisations, and most leaders, operate using what Quinn calls a Conventional Mental Map, a top-down, traditional hierarchy. He contrasts this with the more complex Positive Mental Map, focused more on networks and relationships, and a focus on the common good and authentic communication.
However, this is not a binary state – Quinn suggests a successful leader needs to be ‘bilingual’ able to speak the language of both maps depending on the need of the people they are working with, to find the right tools for the right occasion.
A question of balance
Quinn provides us with a further analysis of organisational culture – the Framework of Organizational Tensions. Quinn groups organisational characteristics into two opposing lists, for example Individual Accountability and Cohesive Teamwork. If taken to extremes either of these positive characteristics could be negative – conflict on the one hand or group think on the other. To illustrate the need to maintain balance between these positive forces, Quinn separates each pair on opposing sides of a disc, with an outer ring of negative forces that may arise if the positive force is over-developed.
This idea of tension and balance is crucial to Quinn – organisations are not static, they are dynamic, and to effect positive change we have to consider the whole system, that positives can turn into negatives.
A call to action
Having developed these models, Quinn turns to a number of key issues in developing a positive organisation in chapters that focus on how drive organisations forward by developing and promoting authenticity, creating a sense of purpose, fostering bottom-up change and collaborative development. He uses a range of interesting and relevant examples, referring back to the models at every stage.
In these sections he is challenging and insightful on the role of the individual, on our willingness to work for the common good, our ability to leave our ego and control behind when trying to develop an organisation that thrives. He is also realistic about human nature, and how difficult meaningful change and personal authenticity may be, but makes clear the benefits of developing leadership capabilities and organisational positivity.
Over to you
Quinn concludes by sharing with the reader his Positive Organization Generator. Designed to confront sceptics and resistance, he provides 100 examples of where an organisation has made positive change (from a range of industries, and with links to further articles on each of them). Rather than just adopting these ideas, his instruction to readers is to re-invent them – to be inspired by the examples, extract the principle and re-imagine it for your own context, moulding and adapting to fit.
For more ideas you can also follow his daily blog: www.thepositiveorganization.wordpress.com
Autumn; the back-to-school time of the year. The shiny, new stationery on the shop shelves encourages people to educate themselves and develop their skills. Never stop studying is the key to success; study to maintain your position and to advance. Thanks to technology you have limitless options to educate yourself.
Here is a list of our 5 favourite learning tools:
iLEAD – Winner of the Management and Leadership Textbook category; Management Book of The Year 2016. A very interactive work, a great collection of exercises and tasks, based on academic research; a self-assessment resource for aspiring leaders.
Skillshare – You can find courses from story-telling, through graphic design to e-mail marketing on this online educational platform. Courses are taught by industry experts; you can even learn from Simon Sinek or Seth Godin. The primary goal of the course is learning by completing a project. Everyone can be a student or even a teacher in the community of Skillshare.
How to Understand Your Stakeholders – Our 4-step template helps you to plan engagement for your change project and gain clarity about your stakeholders. After downloading you also get access to a 3-week mini e-mail series on change management.
Gordon Tredgold’s YouTube channel – The ‘leaders’ leader’ shares short but interesting and engaging videos on topics such as empowerment, success and leadership to help his audience develop their leadership and performance skills.
Duolingo – As the old saying goes “A man who knows four languages is worth four men.” Duolingo is a great way to learn languages. It works like a game as you earn points for the correct answers and it’s ideal for your commute. The app is available free on iTunes, Google Play and Windows Store.
+1: The Coaching Habit – Michael Bungay Stanier’s book will teach you how to provide more effective support to your staff and be a more impactful leader. Read our review of the book in this issue, and Michael talks about his 3-step process for changing habits in 60 seconds or less in our interview.
Review of the Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier
Your team sometimes just need a bit of support to shine. You can provide this support through changing your leadership approach to one of coaching.
Helping people to find their own solutions is more impactful than giving advice, providing rules or direction. You can coach anytime, anywhere, and with the 7 simple questions that Michael Bungay Stanier suggests for supporting your team, your session will be both easy and effective.
The Coaching Habit is a lean, inspiring and practical book. In the first few chapters you can learn about habit building and change in order to make the move from the directive habit of a lifetime. The book then outlines the benefits of coaching before you get the tools, the questions and ways of putting them into practice.
The following seven chapters are about the seven essential question you should ask in order to help your colleague to identify and solve their own difficulties. Bungay Stanier added exercises between the questions to help leaders master asking them effectively.
Michael Bungay Stanier’s book is a practical, engaging read encouraging immediate application. It is packed with useful resources and exercises, and should have a place on every leaders’ bookshelf.
We had the privilege of interviewing Michael on the coaching habit, so you can also hear him talk about the habit changing process and how to do more great work.
Ann Francke, Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Management Institute, recommends a book that helps to remind ourselves of the guidelines and habits for establishing personal and professional effectiveness.
Francke says the book was particularly impactful as she was introduced to it during a dedicated training programme that focused on providing opportunities for putting the habits into practice.
Although Covey’s work is well-known and you may have read it before, Ann Francke thinks that we all need to remind ourselves of these simple rules and principles.
“They are standards really; such as start with the end in mind. Keep sight of what you are trying to achieve” and seek first to understand before being understood.
Watch our interview with Ann Francke on the importance of developing professional managers, and the business benefits of well-led organisations, here.