What would need to happen in your organisation for the statement below to be true?
“My organisation has a lively, creative culture where we’re always asking questions, learning and growing together. Employees feel excited to be part of it and committed to making a difference.”
The key lies in embracing an open culture that offers meaningful work, nurtures innovation, supports employee growth and fosters a diverse and inclusive work environment. Yet many organisations remain trapped in outdated mindsets and behaviours that limit their potential. Consider how much time is spent managing up, down, and across the organisation – often with diminishing returns.
As leading management thinker W. Edwards Deming noted “A bad system will beat a good person every time.”
Take a moment to reflect on your organisation:
- How much time do team members spend in meetings, preparing for meetings, or on email and other communication platforms?
- How many hours are dedicated to low-value tasks?
Indeed, a study published in the HBR found that on average 41% of knowledge workers’ time is spent on tasks that offer little personal satisfaction and could be handled by others (Mankins & Garton, 2013).
The question is, how much time is left for truly innovative thinking that will grow the organisation and sustain it over time? How much time is left for work that truly engages employees?
Those organisations that do more of the following will likely outperform in the coming decades:
- Develop mindsets that look up and out for both risks and opportunities and strategies that thrive in uncertainty;
- Learn to question every aspect of what they do;
- Are more strategic with how time, energy and attention are allocated;
- Foster a diverse and inclusive work environment to drive innovation;
- Empower employees to craft roles that fit their lives, excite them, play to their strengths and give them a sense of purpose and satisfaction;
- Invest in employee development and encourage a culture of continuous learning;
- Foster psychological safety for open expression and innovation.
None of this is revolutionary – many top-performing organisations are doing this and much more.
The question for those other organisations is: “How much value will be destroyed before you act?”
There is no easy roadmap to curiosity-inspired leadership. It is about unpicking cultures, environments, mindsets and behaviours and then curating what is of benefit and composting what no longer serves. This requires buy-in from the top of the organisation and an ongoing cycle of listening, reflection and action.
One thing is clear, the process all starts with a willingness to ask and answer some challenging questions!! To spark this essential conversation, I’ve included some thought-provoking questions below. If you are curious as to how we might start addressing some of them together Let’s Begin the Conversation!