Thursday, January 21, 2010

Walk the line?

A client has this sign prominently displayed in his staff meeting room:

This is in a public organisation. Every time I talk with him, I know he means business in dealing with childish behaviour in his organisation, helping people to grow up and mature. He is passionate about the capabilities of his operations team.

His goal in managing his staff is apparent: if his team is able to 'live into' operating 'above the line' then the work of managing becomes less about firefighting and more about identifying brilliance and creativity and persistence and finding ways of setting them free.

I'd like to think my current workplace has a pretty strong 'above the line' culture. There's pretty limited tolerance for B.S., a healthy respecting of opinions, and the ability for fresh ideas to rise above rank.

Of course, patches of 'below the line' behaviour occur. But if you've lived long enough in an 'above the line' culture you know how miserable a place it is to let your organisation live for too long in the choking, 'victimised' environment that is 'below the line'.

Perhaps you've been in organisations that have moved from 'laying blame' and 'justifying' to 'taking responsibility' and 'exercising accountability'. If so, enlighten us: what were the tipping points? And what did you notice about the organisation's output before and after?

1 comment:

channah said...

sadly the only thing to change in the organisation that i used to work at where everything was primarily below the line, was me.