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Thriving Culture Starts From The Inside Out


 

For whatever reason, we have found jazz musicians a great resource to draw upon in our work in crafting thriving organizational culture.

One of the greatest was Charlie “Bird” Parker who made this memorable statement:

“If it ain’t in you, it can’t come out of your horn.”

Great organizational cultures have a common sense of purpose and mission that unites every stakeholder, regardless of their temperament, background, and individual responsibilities.

But they also have a bias for the particular – the unique combination of gifts, passion, life experience, competence, and talents in each individual.

This has to be more than a corporate slogan. It has to penetrate the every day interactions leaders and managers have with their team members.

I have to know what is in me. This is self-awareness, where it all begins. I can then trust myself.

Then – if you are my leader – you have to know what it is in me. And you have to trust that.

More than trust it – you have to nurture it, draw upon it, honor it, cultivate it.

That is, if you want to be the leader of an organization with a thriving culture.

Think of this rock-solid trust as the steel that reinforces the concrete of your organization’s mission.

I trust myself to do my best work with maximum discretionary effort because I trust you as my leader to honor me and give me the opportunity to shine.

Notice that all of this has to do with what is ‘inside’ me. It’s not – primarily – about skill sets or training. It starts inside.

But this isn’t “soft” stuff.

A culture that honors what is inside of each individual is a culture primed to get the very best each person has to give, in service of a common mission. And that leads to bottom line success, growth and productivity.

So, if you are a leader or a manager (or both!), here are two key questions:

  1. Do you know what is inside of you so well that what comes out of your “horn” is clear, focused, and excellent?
  2. Do you know what lies inside each of the members of your team – particularly your direct reports? And are you consciously and intentionally looking to cultivate and honor those things?