Here I go again
I keep banging on about this, and will do so, till my last breath:
“Organisations don’t perform, people behave”
So, if you want to change Organisational Performance, guess what? You have to change People Performance. And a great person to start with is YOU!
So how do you start to change your performance? Well, it begins with self-awareness. And how do you gain more self-awareness? Through the feedback of others.
That’s why the best performing individuals and organisations I partner with have an incredible emphasis on feedback and learning and acting on that feedback.
It looks something like this:
I realise life isn’t binary and neither are organisational cultures. But I do see “cultures” falling into two broad categories.
First of all, there are N.I.C.E. cultures. These are places where we are incredibly polite, don’t want to hurt anyone and take it on the chin if someone upsets us or performance is below expectations.
There is a great emphasis on “positivity”, yet at times it just doesn’t feel genuine.
Look I get it, there’s a certain humility and humanity in that. My mum used to say:
“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”
But the cost here is staggering. No one gets real feedback, no one gets a chance to learn, a chance to grow, no one gets an opportunity to change their behaviour, and the organisation stays pretty much the same.
So what do we call such a culture?
I call them N.I.C.E. Cultures. And N.I.C.E. stands for:
Yep, that’s it. Because by not giving feedback, you’re denying people the chance to grow and learn.
You’re more focused on your own needs of being liked, being accepted and not creating conflict. You just don’t care enough.
This is ABSOLUTELY CRAZY.
Because for anything to grow, it needs some form of external “force”, some external factor to push you out of your orbit of inertia.
Not only that, it’s the height of arrogance. How could “you” make the decision that “they” can’t handle your feedback. Maybe that’s up to them to make that decision. Try them.
“You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth”
Jack Nicholson in A few Good Men
What’s the Alternative Culture?
Is there a better way? Of course.
Always assume people can take your feedback. I’m not talking about abuse here. I’m talking about specific behavioural feedback, given after assuming positive intent and delivered with bucket loads of mutual respect.
You tell me you want to build a culture of mutual trust and respect? Give people feedback, from the heart. Help them get better, help them grow.
Assume that even if they’re not actively seeking your feedback, they are emotionally mature enough, courageous enough and open enough to receive it. You say, “Well, not always Mitch”. Yes, maybe so. But you can’t change them. You can only change you. And giving this feedback, is a great place to start.
So, what do we call these cultures?
I call them R.E.A.L. Cultures. What’s a R.E.A.L Culture?
R.E.A.L cultures are full of real feedback, real honesty, real respect, real trust and real learning. It stands for:
So, the Culture Continuum looks like this:
Where are you on the culture continuum?
Where is your team?
Where is your organisation?
What gets in the way?
As vital as feedback is, my brother Col is fond of saying:
“Never underestimate the power of denial”
Even if we get feedback, or even if it’s available, we don’t seek it out, we don’t listen to it.
So now you’re thinking about developing R.E.A.L. culture in your team, in my next article I’ll talk about why and how we “block” feedback. And more importantly, how you and your colleagues can take that feedback and use it to take you to higher ground.
Here we go, a quick summary of what you can do now:
1. Actively seek out feedback yourself.
2. Be a zealot about creating R.E.A.L. cultures.
3. Point out where you or others are just being too N.I.C.E.
4. When giving feedback, assume positive intent, make it specific and come from the right place.
5. Recognise others ability to take feedback, don’t do them the disservice of assuming they can’t “handle it”.
6. Remember no feedback, no personal or professional growth.
7. And if we don’t grow, then neither will the organisation.
Until next time…
Find the Passion
Develop the Skills
Make the Numbers
Make a Difference
“APAC’s most respected transformational leadership performance coach”
Want to create a REAL culture in your organisation? I’d love you to experience our 2-hour keyshop™ (a combination of a keynote and workshop) on: “Feedback: The breakfast of champions – How Feedback is everyone’s business” – CONTACT US ABOUT IT HERE
You can even take it further by having your leaders learn specific skills on giving and receiving feedback in our flagship programme “Higher Ground: Transforming Good Managers into great Leaders”
Paul Mitchell (@Paul_S_Mitchell) is a speaker, author, transformational leadership coach and founder of the human enterprise. Through leadership coaching, leadership development programmes, keynotes and facilitation, Paul works with organisations to build cultures where everybody leads.