Earlier in the week, I covered C is for Culture. Continuing the letter C, this beautiful blog post about organisational climate is contributed by freelance OD practitioner Lucy Thompson. Lucy is a creative OD Specialist, Changemaker and Coach. She typically leads the people aspects on major transformational change programmes, focusing on delivering organisational effectiveness and team performance.
Creating the right Climate for Culture to Flourish
I was reminded today of the simplicity of a flower in nature – when you see a flower growing beautifully and thriving, the last thing you do is pick it. You leave it to be nurtured by nature- safe in the knowledge that this flower had found its place in the world and the climate it was growing in was enabling it to be the best version of itself it can be.
A climate in an organisation is often referred to as its culture. You only need Google ‘culture’ and ‘organisation’ to find a raft of insight, models and diagnostics that can help put labels on what is happening at any one time in the organisation and its system.
Many an OD practitioner will tell you that culture is a direct descendant of the team at the top. Leadership shapes culture. It’s the way leaders walk, the way they talk, the messages they send and the way they bounce back when things might not have gone as planned.
Creating high performing leadership teams
Taking this a step further, the leaders in an organisation are a team in their own right – they might be members of several teams but their ‘first’ team is their peer group and the purpose of their roles is to work together to steer their ship to success (whatever that might look like for them). Therefore, if this team shapes culture, then creating high performing teams must start with the top team. This creates the right climate for OD – simple enough? Yet why do many organisations struggle with this concept?
Patrick Lencioni is a true hero of mine. He really puts out in to the ether a simple construct of a high performing team and its characteristics. No long-complicated words or theory, no model that requires you to follow a tube map of arrows to understand the end goal. Quite simply the five behaviours of a cohesive team are Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability and Results – simple when you know how, right?
For OD to flourish in organisations, the culture needs to be right: it needs to enable OD practitioners and their practice to be the very best version they can be, and this means the work starts at the top. Enabling the cohesive team can be the gamechanger for the success of organisation development and its interventions.