Here’s the dilemma: In a competitive, complex, and volatile business environment, companies need more from their employees than ever. But the same forces rocking businesses are also overwhelming employees, driving up their fear, and compromising their capacity.
It’s no wonder that so many C-Suite leaders are focused on how to build higher performance cultures. The irony, is that building a culture focused on performance may not be the best, healthiest, or most sustainable way to fuel results. Instead, it may be more effective to focus on creating a culture of growth.
A culture is simply the collection of beliefs on which people build their behavior. Learning organizations, Peter Senge’s term, classically focus on intellectually oriented issues such as knowledge and expertise
Building a growth culture requires a blend of individual and organizational components:
1. An environment that feels safe, fueled first by top by leaders willing to role model vulnerability and take personal responsibility for their shortcomings and missteps.
2. A focus on continuous learning through inquiry, curiosity and transparency, in place of judgment, certainty and self-protection.
3. Time-limited, manageable experiments with new behaviors in order to test our unconscious assumption that changing the status quo is dangerous and likely to have negative consequences.
4. Continuous feedback — up, down and across the organization – grounded in a shared commitment to helping each other grow and get better.
A performance culture asks, “How much energy can we mobilize?” and the answer is only a finite amount. A growth culture asks, “How much energy can we liberate?” and the answer is infinite.
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