Before we can tackle this question, let’s examine the factors at play first. Corporate culture presupposes the organization as living entity, what is it’s personality like? What are the general attitudes and norms of behavior that are kindled in the workplace? Enjoy this thought experiment, if you could personify companies, and they were all at a party, imagine how it would be to meet Google, or Facebook, or Goldman Sachs, or Tesla, or Microsoft? You get a lot of insight in corporate culture by personifying the firm, some will be loud, others more soft-spoken, some very proper and others more laid back? All these companies are incredibly successful, but we can start to examine the path they take to arrive at their achievements. With the great resignation, large organizations are struggling to retain talent, people are prioritizing their life goals and values and choosing to work at companies where there is more alignment with their individual vision and passions. The pandemic has catalyzed this shift in thinking, no longer is a fat paycheck enough, feeling valued in the firm that bestows personal freedoms are now what employees expect. This has moved the needle in how people are managed from control to trust.
Authentic leadership is the ability to create impact that inspires action where you can bring out the best in someone by learning from their observations and insights. It’s leading by listening to those day to day in operations, rather than the ‘top down’ command of strategy, strategic actions are informed by what’s happening on the base level. CEO of India based IT giant, HCL technologies Vineet Nayar, states “The idea of the CEO as the captain of the ship is bankrupt” It’s time to call off the search for superhuman leaders. What we need aren’t extraordinary leaders, but organizations that mobilise and monetise the everyday genius of ‘ordinary’ employees, it’ these frontline workers that are closest to the market have the greatest pulse of client expectations.
Hong Kong is a global financial hub, its economy is dominated by industries such as banking, law and insurance. These require highly analytical minds to drive it. Is there room for creativity? Taking a reductionist approach of specialisation was great for the industrial revolution, in Adam Smith’s “The wealth of nations’ productivity is examined on the basis on an assembly line, looking at people as pegs coordinated by bureaucratic role specifications, there’s no room to think laterally which curtails initiative and innovation. Non managerial employees in Britain were asked whether they had any influence over decisions that altered the nature of their work, 86% answered no of just a little.
We know denial, conventional thinking and busyness shrink our ability to be open minded. Occupying a state of stress, teams often feel scared and subordinated to speak up to their managers even if they have genuine knowledge to help worrying that they will be undermining their manager’s power by sharing their own thoughts. Gallup’s 2019 great jobs survey revealed that in the US only 9% of non managerial employees strongly agreed that they are free to take risks to improve products and services or solutions. This creates a bureaucratic blindness as valuable information is bottled up and opportunities missed. Greatest importance is given to current near team projects that everyone is too busy with day to day operations that there is little emphasis on longer term discovery of how businesses grow, develop and explore new offerings, niches and markets.
In a cross industry survey coordinated by Harvard business review with more than 10,000 participants, survey respondents spend 42% of their time on internal issues- resolving disputes, wrangling resources, attending meetings, negotiating targets and the like. Executives in large companies are the most insular, who spend almost 50% of their time on in house issues, because of this feeling of overwhelm in dealing with internal matters they often fail to spot emerging trends.
Experimentation requires patience, our 3-month empowerment training course helps to instil the virtues of iteration, open-mindedness and vision setting. Inspire Yoga’s corporate programs specializes in experiential learning to foster transformational growth and greater cohesion within the organization. Without patience and persistence, projects teams may be tempted to give up when early experiments fail to product a breakthrough. When you do the inner work and have conviction and trust that you will make an epic change, failed experiments don’t crush your spirit and you’re ready to learn and keeping putting your best effort forward. (Apple took 4 years to develop its touchscreen)
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