Welcome to the thirtieth issue of CEE News!
Last week, we worked with executives at two credit unions on leadership and culture transformation. One of the credit unions has been on the culture transformation journey for over five years. The other is just starting out. In both cases, we’re using the 4-stage roadmap to culture transformation developed by our Co-Founder, Dr. Tony Baron to help them achieve success. The four stages are: Instruct, Invest, Integrate, and Incarnate.
The credit union that has been on the culture transformation journey for over five years has achieved many successes. They’ve partially completed the Instruct, Invest, and Integrate stages. When we asked them to walk us through that journey, we looked for inflection points and what we refer to as flags.
Yellow flags are areas that they tried to implement, but need some tweaking to perfect. Red flags are areas that, if not addressed quickly, could have a significant negative impact on culture and performance.
What started out as yellow flags in 2015, were not addressed, and turned to red flags in 2017. These red flag issues are showing up in five critical areas that impact team alignment.
1. Absence of Trust. This occurs when team members are reluctant to be vulnerable with one another, and are thus unwilling to admit their mistakes, acknowledge their weaknesses or ask for help.
2. Fear of Conflict. Without trust, the team is unlikely to engage in unfiltered, passionate debate about key issues. This stifles conflict and increases the likelihood of destructive, passive-aggressive behavior. Worse, it leads to sub-optimal decision-making because the team is not benefiting from the true ideas and perspectives of its members.
3. Lack of Commitment. Without conflict, it is extremely difficult for team members to truly commit to decisions because they don’t feel that they are part of the decision. This often creates an environment of ambiguity and confusion in the organization, leading to frustration among employees, especially top performers.
4. Avoidance of Accountability. When teams don’t commit to a clear plan of action, peer-to-peer accountability suffers greatly. Even the most focused and driven individuals will hesitate to call their peers on counterproductive actions and behaviors if they believe those actions and behaviors were never agreed upon in the first place.
5. Inattention to Details. When team members are not holding one another accountable, they increase the likelihood that individual ego and recognition will become more important than collective team results. When this occurs, the business suffers and the team starts to unravel.
Creating a high-performing, cohesive culture is one of the few remaining competitive advantages available to any organization. But, each stage of the journey requires leaders to recognize the yellow flags along the way, and commit to continuous improvement until those flags turn green.