One of my joys is the privilege to speak at leadership roundtables with business people who share a common goal–to become more effective leaders in their companies. I am always honored to help increase an understanding of how servant leaders create values-aligned organizations that are high performing.
Some groups continue to meet regularly to learn the components of servant leadership and purposeful culture, and to discover how to incorporate these elements into their teams and organizations.
One challenge of doing so is the classic “knowing-doing” gap. As is the case with many types of professional development, learning all the concepts of servant leadership and culture refinement is easier than implementing those elements!
Most program participants are engaged in the training process. They are often eager to contribute and take copious notes. However, they do not experience much success in application. What gets in the way?
There are many possible distractions, such as limited time . . . lack of opportunities to test something . . . systems within the organization that don’t support a new approach . . . values and norms that are “command and control” and resist a shift to servant leadership . . . the overall resistance so many have to change, even if it is for good.
In situations like these, extra help helps. Many have invited consultants to examine how their leadership team is perceived and to ask questions to understand how the team – and organization’s – culture is operating. We consultants interview leaders and other team members. We conduct an assessment, providing results. These tools shed light on the practices of the organization and how successful (or not) they are. We identify gaps between desired behavior and current behavior. We clearly define where there are opportunities for improvement.
With this data, leaders are fully informed. They see the potential benefits of change, and often, stay in a relationship with the consultant who can encourage and keep them accountable for making the necessary modifications.
You may likely view your current reality subjectively. Being in the midst of the culture daily, you may “get used” to the negative elements and feel that overall, “Things are fine. We are getting there.”
However, what are you doing to make necessary changes? Do you have accurate data on which to base decisions? Do you have an objective someone “in your corner,” who can hold you toward implementing the needed steps for change? Maybe it’s time to get your reality checked.