June 8, 2011

Culture Evolution Part II - Shared Leadership

At Macadamian we embarked on our culture evolution several months ago. You can read the beginning of the journey in my previous post. One of my long term objectives is to influence and shape our culture. I strongly believe that our success will come from our people and to be intentional about our culture will get us to the desired result faster.

We brought someone in to assist us in the discussions around the values we aspire to put into practice. The suggestion to get help was made to me by our lead on culture and I think it's a fantastic idea.

The reason it's fantastic is it will help get the stuff below the surface to come out. I'm passionate about everything Macadamian. My passion can get in the way of understanding what is below the surface at times. With a moderator in the discussions, I believe more questions will be asked and I will be able to listen more intently to what is being said.

Needless to say this is good but scary at the same time. Intellectually speaking, I want to do things differently at Macadamian. I realize we need to evolve but at the same time my reflexes, just like the rest of the organization's reflexes, are still reacting in the old way of doing things. As my mentor Carlos Fox points out to me all the time, we all have a dance with each other and the challenge in any change we look to make is to break out of that dance.  This brings me to the point of this post.

Shared Leadership

In preparation for the meeting we are having with the ambassadors, I have met a couple of times with our moderator. She is very savvy and my conversations with her are really intense. I learn things with every sentence she makes. Over the course of our conversations she got me to realize a fear of mine in this process:
  • I'm used to knowing where we're going and always doing what if on all situations and possibilities; I work one step ahead. In this process I don't know what the step ahead is and I'm anticipating the discussion a lot.
  • This is causing stress and also apprehension about the discussion.
  • This stress, apprehension, and all those emotions are not putting me in a listening mode or a mode where I am able to explore what people truly mean by what they are saying.
You can imagine the state of mind I am in. Right now it feels like a valley and I'm alone and scared. We have huge and ambitious goals for Macadamian. I aspire to things being done differently to fully realize these goals and the process we're going through is pushing me into places I have not been before. My way of thinking through things and my senses are pointing to this being what usually would be considered a risky situation.

On the one hand you know when you're going into places you haven't been before that it's scary and stressful. On the other hand it also means I'm learning.  It means we're already doing things differently for the better, which is the point of the whole exercise in our culture evolution.

In my very own situation, the new place I'm going to is shared leadership. It means the decision on the culture evolution is not a top down exercise; it's a team of ambassadors who owns the mandate to evolve the culture. It's scary and it's exciting. I'm one voice in the overall process and we're here to learn, design and create our culture evolution.

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Anonymous said...

Interesting, found podcasts URL about "Ben and Jerry's" story, could be useful for company development as well




P.S. i think it's good start, and good luck with it

Shawn said...

Any time you cab figure out a way to pull the best ideas out of others further down in the org, you are onto a good thing.

Loving your posts lately!

Frederic Boulanger said...

Thanks Shawn, you right on the money, leveraging the team is powerful!