organization

7 Simple Questions That Will Transform Your Organization

By Walt Brown

Imagine your ideal, dream employee in your organization. What attributes come to mind? Perhaps inspired, diligent, motivated, or loyal resonate with you. Being mindful of what employees should embody is fine and good, but it’s far more important as a leader to be mindful of how to encourage your people to actually demonstrate these attributes.

Let me share how I came to discover 7 questions that now define a Patient Organization, an organization that embodies your ideal attributes and more. It all started when I got sick of hearing an increasing number of people say this: “the problem with millennials is….”.

Now, you can complete that sentence any way you wish and the odds are high I’ve heard whatever you come up with.  Well, I don’t buy it. As a matter of fact, I don’t refer to this group as Millennials anymore. I refer to them as our fresh workers and thinkers.

The stereotypes associated with this demographic caused me to scratch my head and ask: “why am I not seeing this bias manifest within my clients?”.  What I saw was these fresh workers and thinkers were not only motivated and engaged but ready to take over the world. What was it that we were doing together that was breaking this mold?

I received permission from my clients to engage with their fresh thinkers to discover what we were doing that was blowing the stereotype apart. And what we discovered was this: their companies were focusing on one thing, along two parallel paths, addressing 7 fundamental questions. Trust me, if your organization has people, these will be relevant.

The 7 Questions:

  1. Do I belong?
  2. Do I believe?
  3. Do I understand and embrace what I am accountable for?
  4. Do I understand and embrace how I am I measured?
  5. Do I understand and embrace how my opinion is heard?
  6. Do I understand and embrace how I am developed?
  7. Do I understand and embrace how I maintain balance?

On one path, companies and leaders had done the hard work of getting on the same page around these 7 fundamental questions. On the other parallel path, companies and leaders had committed to an organizational operating system. A system that allowed each individual to constantly align themselves with and maintain yes to the 7 questions.

Why those questions (and “yes” as an answer) matter:

Short answer: When employees can answer “yes,” you will find yourself surrounded by your ideal, dream employee, and you will have a Patient Organization. When you have a Patient Organization, you have consistency, and with consistency comes stamina, and with stamina comes an incredible, repeatable, competitive advantage. What do I mean by a Patient Organization? Let me start by providing a deeper explanation of the word “organization.”

Let’s look at Organization: “An organization, your company, is a fiction. A fiction that is only given meaning and purpose by those who buy in and believe. If you have 200 people, and 99 buy in to this and 101 buy in to that, then you have two organizations. You have already been divided and you are on your way to being conquered.”

Let’s look at Patient:

  • Patience does not translate to slowness, it’s about being prepared and deliberate. It means having a system and set of decision matrices in place that make it easier to strike when the time is right.
  • Patience does not put up with jerks. Tolerating jerks is charity and insanity, not patience.
  • Patience does not mean avoidance. It looks for ways to get through issues, not work around them. It has a system in place that allows leaders to make the tough calls.
  • Patience does not demonstrate passivity. It’s about taking action accompanied by thinking.
  • Patience comes from rising above the system to actively improve it.

To wrap it all up, we are looking for the singular Patient Organization. An organization that’s filled with moxie, grit, guts, awareness, perseverance, wisdom and courage. The problem in attaining this is not the millennial generation, it’s this: first – most senior teams don’t have the wisdom or guts to do the hard work to discover and commit to what 7 “yes” answers mean. Second – these same leaders don’t have the discipline to install and commit to an organizational operating system that allows their people to answer yes.

I am challenging the world and you to do two things. First – use the 7 questions to ask if you have done the heavy lifting to truly earn your 7 “yes” answers. Second, use the 7 questions to audit your organizational operating system to see if it has the chops to honor your organizational promise. Does your system allow every individual to consistently align with and maintain yes? Can you systematically maintain yes?

Use the 7 questions. Make a promise and keep your promise. Become patient, my friends. Stay patient, my friends.

 

Take the 7 Question Survey and see if your organization is ready for what’s next.

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