If you lack purpose, it’s difficult to find common goals and the bonding that takes place in achieving those goals together. If you lack clarity of structure, roles and processes, then your team doesn’t know what to expect and therefore can’t trust decisions. If you lack leadership development, your team may not feel valued and therefore will only commit to the organization to the degree that they feel you and the organization are committed to them.
There is no perfect team.
There is no perfect culture.
In fact, every team has dysfunction. The question is, do you know what yours is? There are often things we miss either because we’re focused in other directions or because we’ve simply grown accustomed to the way things are and therefore desensitized to the potential of becoming healthier.
In our work with organizations at all stages and of all sizes, we repeatedly identify four areas where leaders often have blind spots in their organizational culture. What often surprises the leaders we serve is that these culture blind spots are not extravagant employee perks or outrageous office antics, rather the most common culture blind spots are related to your everyday behaviors as a team.
In fact, most of the things that have the biggest leverage on your team culture are related to how well you manage your relationships and your systems.
The four categories of common culture blind spots are:
1. Clarity of purpose
2. Organizational clarity
3. Leadership development
4. Team dynamics
The reality is: we can’t correct what we can’t see, so let’s take a closer look at each of these.
1. Clarity of Purpose
Why do you do what you do?
When was the last time you asked yourself or your team that question? As organizations grow and mature, the mission and vision get more and more fuzzy. Complexity is the natural drift as organizations grow and teams expand. If you don’t keep the mission, vision and values of your organization front and center, your team will lose focus and engagement.
Having a clear purpose is the foundational building block upon which everything else in your organization’s culture is built. You have the opportunity to clarify and articulate why you exist and how you move toward your calling. Doing so will provide the plumb line your team needs in order to align and thrive together.
2. Organizational Clarity
Leaders, we are never as clear as we think we are.
Organizational clarity is not just about communication (we’ll get to that later), organizational clarity requires a fierce commitment to making sure our systems and processes provide the clarity and alignment that removes roadblocks and helps our team do their work with minimal avoidable frustration.
Chief among the issues that create this blind spot is a nonexistent or confusing organizational chart. Many senior leaders I talk to get annoyed by the need for an org chart. You don’t feel the need for an org chart because you likely sit somewhere near the top of it. It’s clear to you and therefore you assume it’s clear for everyone.