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"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."
Sun Tzu

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 318

Estimated reading time:  2:00 minutes

 

Greetings from the beautiful Sunshine Coast where we are ensconced, for a few weeks. A bit of travel back and forth to Vancouver and a couple of trips, but largely we’ll be here in Gibsons.

 

And today, between work assignments, I began to work on the chores. This first one is removing the caulking from around the shower in the small bathroom. It got me thinking about changing cultures. (And yes, I do see some strange connections in my mind!) All too often we presume that changing the culture on a team or in an organization can be done with some fancy words, some, platitudes and an all staff meeting. That is like simply applying the new caulking on the old in a shower. It might look great for a bit, but the old caulking, with the grime and even mould seeps through and soon enough the old supplants the new.

 

Changing the culture on a team or in an organization takes time, and early on some digging, getting the old embedded ideas and practices out and into the light of day. Only then can you begin to apply the new on a clean and dry surface.

 

 

One of the challenges with this metaphor is that you might infer I’m recommending ‘digging people out.’ That may be necessary in some instances for some individuals, but the real work is taking the existing team and leading them on a journey of self discovery, where they themselves make the changes, as opposed to have the changes happen to them. This requires that we recognize that each and every person on your team is a creative, smart, unique and talented human being. It takes time, but we can create cultures that look and feel brand new, to everyone.