Kill your culture!
Two weeks ago, I urged you to consider adventure. Jumping the life cycle curves. From current safety, onto a much less certain path to greatness.
But to carry your organization along with you, you’ve got to do something else first. Release them to be astronauts, too. Break the bonds that hold them back -- which in most organizations is a considerable task.
How do you unlock widespread passion for adventure? It usually means killing at least a part of your culture.
The problem is that our legacy concepts of structure and control -- anchored in beliefs that people aren’t smart enough or motivated enough to do what’s best for the business on their own -- foster conservatism and wipe out adventure. They yield organizations that likely will allow you to embark on a “one-man Pickett’s charge.” Hiding behind the rock walls at the moments of truth. And because you sense it, you seldom give heroic things a try.
How to break out, and create culture that vibrates with guts and verve? It’s not too hard nor takes too long -- IF you’ve got the guts and verve to make it happen.
It all depends on you. Your willingness to shed your own safety chute. Your willingness to take risks and support others who do it with you. Both when they’re right and wrong.
Best place to start? With something seen as risky, but with low potential for damage. That depends entirely upon you.
Let people know what you’re about to try. That you’re not certain of the result. And hopefully, you won’t be entirely successful. Then ask for help in understanding what went wrong. And try again. Hopefully eventually with success. Or recalibrate the objective. Repeat the sequence a few times. Then start encouraging a few others to do likewise. Returning the courtesy when they fail.
Generally, this process doesn’t take too long to kill the “do it my way right, or you’re in trouble” part of your culture. And when it’s gone, you’re ready to jump. With confidence that they’ll be behind you.