Facing up to the cultural challenge: how organizations are risking their future

Discover how to face up to the cultural challenge, and how organizations are risking their future.

– 5 mins read –

Observing the speed with which an organization of Kodak’s history and calibre is overtaken by disruptive innovation, and reading research by Innosight that estimates “three-quarters of today’s S&P 500 will be replaced by 2027″ (reported by @HBR), it’s no wonder big organizations are scrambling for answers to these new threats.

I was reflecting on this after speaking at the Corporate L&D Summit hosted by Luxatia International – a great opportunity to connect with fellow senior professionals to share ideas and concerns.

I was reflecting on this after speaking at the Corporate L&D Summit hosted by Luxatia International – a great opportunity to connect with fellow senior professionals to share ideas and concerns.

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I talked about The Performance Curve which we use to measure company culture and bottom-line performance. It maps culture states from Impulsive to Interdependent, showing how the quality of interactions between leaders and their direct reports releases untapped potential, in the right-hand quadrant. Our experience working with leaders using a coaching style of management, as pioneered by Sir John Whitmore, has shown how this can be achieved.

The Performance Curve coaching style of leadership | Performance Consultants
The Performance Curve

When I took the opportunity to poll the audience to gauge where delegates felt their organizations were on The Performance Curve, the vast majority of people in the room felt that their companies had a Dependent Culture. This tends to be characterized by a “command and control” paradigm. Dependent Cultures are typically the second phase of organizational maturity where the introduction of processes and systems to curtail inconsistency and mitigate risk, simultaneously stifle innovation and autonomy with employees expected to “follow the rules.”

While there is a rational justification for a Dependent Culture, the risks of limiting employee performance and organizational progress are obvious.

Change needs to come from the top down however, conventional leadership mindsets are the key challenge for today’s organizations – a view echoed in the conversations that took place at last week’s Summit.

Enabling leaders to empower their teams can only happen by shifting mindsets, which is where we see the power of Coaching for Performance. The motivation has to be intrinsic and systemic; meaning everyone, from the CEO to the new hire, recognizes the power of coaching practices in unleashing potential for both people and organizations.

It’s frequently neglected but an essential part of all transformations whether these are Agile, Digital or Innovation. The alternative for organizations is a slow decline and eventual irrelevance in a market where change is accelerating and disruption is constant.

If you’re looking to improve your business culture and performance, or would like a copy of my presentation, get in touch – [email protected]

Finally, I highly recommend Luxatia International’s Corporate L&D Summit. The quality of content and conversations was exceptional and the event provided a refreshing mix of interactive presentations, exercises and case studies.


The author Tiffany Gaskell is Performance Consultants’ Global Director of Coaching and Leadership.

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