“Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.” —Phillips Brooks
By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM
Change is consistent and the ability of your organization to remain successful is dependent on the strength of its character. While the way you lead must continually evolve, this evolution must be built on the solid foundation of strong organizational character. This character determines your focus, keeps both leaders and employees grounded, and provides the loyalty and perseverance necessary for continued success. How can you determine what the character of your organization is? Start by asking yourself these four questions.
Can you see the big picture?
Metrics will never tell the whole story. Can you see the big picture; the picture that extends beyond just the numbers on a screen? Are you putting short-term results ahead of good, solid business practices? Focusing on the short-term can actually be a disadvantage in the long run. Are you able to evaluate the consequences of your decisions on the organization as a whole? Do you fully understand both the short and long term effects of your actions? Can you see how your words and actions, as a leader, impact the character of your organization?
Do you have the right people in the right positions?
Employees do a good job when they are doing it because they want to. No amount of micromanagement can replace a structure where people are put in positions that allow them to use their talents. Are your employees serving in roles where they can inspire and influence others? Are they trusted to act and make decisions without being micromanaged? Are they allowed to use their skills and experience to design how their own tasks get accomplished? Are they encouraged to use their talents to mentor others? The character of your organization can be quickly undermined by the wrong employees in the wrong positions? Are your employees being utilized in the right places?
Do people know what to expect?
One of the greatest gauges of the character of your organization is consistency. Do employees know what to expect from you as a leader? Do customers know what to expect from your employees and your products or services? Do employees know what to expect from colleagues? When everyone involved in the organization feels engaged with the core purpose and values of the company they will act in a way that is consistent with these values. What people expect from each other and your organization speaks loudly as to the character of your organization.
Are you asking the right questions?
No one person knows all the answers. Are you asking the right questions? Are you asking a diverse group of people? Are you questioning your assumptions about what is possible? Are you asking for and then responding appropriately and quickly to feedback? When you start asking the right questions, you start to get a realistic picture of where you are, where you are heading, and where it is possible for you to go. Asking the right questions leads to the diverse, creative thinking that helps develop the character of your organization.
It’s Time to Act
Will the character of your organization remain consistent when you encounter hardships? Is it strong enough to weather continual change? The character of your organization needs to be solid, to be strong, and to be consistent.
It’s time to act; time to start asking the questions and getting a realistic picture of the character of your organization. Can you see the big picture? Do you have the right people in the right positions? Do people know what to expect? Are you asking the right questions?
Make sure the character of your organization sends the right message to everyone involved both internally and externally. Attention to character helps to build a strong foundation for your organization that will withstand the challenges and twist and turns you will encounter in the future.
© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli
Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.
Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.