A Look In The Mirror

While reflecting on how we’re doing things differently today, i decided to pen down some of the key learnings. When the brand we help built collapses, thats when your eyes open and you can see things clearly, when you realise and reflect on the strategies, the steps taken, the actions, the things you said, the things people were saying. You start to recall and note down how the people in the organisation behaved and you notice a pattern. These are the results of the unspoken rules and values that govern the organisation, its culture. Like having an epiphany you are suddenly aware of what you did wrong, as a leader in the company, what you failed to act upon.

The captain always goes down with the ship, and if i am the captain of this ship it is my job to ensure the ship stays its course and never goes down because by golly i don’t want to drown (again!).

I am accountable
One of the things i realised  was that blaming anything or anyone is just an excuse i created for myself. Anything and everything that happens within my organisation i am accountable. I am responsible for all the outcomes. When a staff is suddenly not performing, what did i do wrong? Did i hire wrongly? Did i reward wrongly? when there is bitching and whining within my organisation, why was i not aware? How did it go on for even an hour? When an employee is unhappy and resigns, did i do enough for him/her? I stopped laying blame on my team, the industry or external forces.

A quick snippet from Mr.Lok Wah of Vistage Malaysia: “We also must remember to ask ourselves if a situation or staff are unsatisfactory and we give reasons as to why it/they have become so, are these excuses for us not making the emotionally tough decisions to make a judgement call that that particular staff member needs to be got rid off ie is beyond redemption? Bad employees are like cancer. Ignore them or live with them at your own risk.” . Undeniably you can only humanly do so much, when you have done all you can (make sure you have done all you can!) and you are still faced with the recurring issue with the performing employee, then a decision must be made. As a leader within your organisation, you have to make unpopular decisions. The faster the better.

Hold yourself accountable and when rightly so, hold those responsible justly accountable.

People Matter
I’ve realised the intrinsic motivation for humans at work and life: People want to matter. They want to be heard, to be included in decisions rather than directed, they want to be recognised, they want people to care, they want to feel safe, they want to know their work contributes to something, they want to know where they are, where they are going, and where can they go and how do they get there. They want to be apart of something, to feel connected. Pay is sustenance and necessary, how we feel and what we get beyond monetary measures is what truly motivates and matters to us all. Shift in mindset and care for the team as how you would like to be cared for. While monetary rewards are great, what more can we do so that everyone grows together?

Remember: I am because we are.

“People want to matter”

Culture trumps strategy every time. We can’t control what happens outside of our organisation but we can control what happens within. The strongest thing within its organisation is its people and how we operate and interact; the culture. Have a good think about how beautiful your want your organisation to be. Put it down on paper, what your desired organisation looks like, what would the atmosphere be like, how should people talk to each other, how should they perform, what is your definition of performance?, can people work in shorts?, should people work from home? Is profanity allowed? What should be included so people will wake up feeling excited to come to work, if you are spending so much time at work, how would you make it better so people don’t dread waking up in the morning?

What governs our definition of right and wrong? The same thing that helps control our actions and guiding our decisions, the same thing that defines our culture, our values. A values driven corporate culture is key in any sustainable organisation, it does require regimented actions to create long term impact so work on deliberately building your desired organisational culture.

Deliberate and consistent practice of values in maintaining desired culture.

Its been a mindset shift for me on holding myself and the people around me accountable, appreciating that i serve the team, having the discipline when it comes to practicsing our values, and understanding that culture is key to a sustainable organisation.

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”

-Margaret J. Wheatley


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