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As a leadership and culture coach, I often see great leaders who want the best for their people. Somehow, however, they manage to block their success.
Indeed, this is true of both their own success and their team’s.
You’ll know from my prior blogs that as humans we’re either in Critter State (fight, flight, freeze, or reptilian/mammalian brain hijack) or we’re in Smart State. This is where all 3 areas of our brain are working together. As a result, we’re highly engaged, collaborative, innovative. Furthermore, we’re most likely to grow a functional, smoothly operating organization in this state.
Needless to say, we want to create cultures where our teams are in Smart State as much as possible. Yet, our behaviors often sabotage this intention—especially when we’re in Critter State. Rather than attempting to blame a lack of growth on others, let’s take a look at how to get into Smart State.
Look at the left side of the below chart. Which behaviors are most common in your organization?
Behaviors That Send Us into Our Critter State and Smart State
|What sends us into our Critter State:
|What sends us into our Smart State:
|Layoffs/reorganizations without explanation
|Clear messaging on what this layoff or reorganization means, and how it is for the health of the company and team.
|A culture of promises and requests. Create clear priorities, and provide safety in communication.
|A culture that supports differing opinions and acknowledges (plus resolves) conflict openly.
|Zero tolerance for gossip, with full leadership support.
|Zero tolerance for politics, backstabbing, sabotage, and undermining, with full leadership support.
|Consistent and transparent communication.
|Mixed messages/unclear expectations
|Explicit communication and needle movers.
|Clear messaging on “belt tightening” and information about how we can all chip in.
|Clear change messaging, with an explanation as to why it’s being done and what it means.
|Revenue loss/key customer loss
|Clear messaging on how we’ll turn this around.
|Sustainable cultures with managed workloads.
Now, look at the right side of the table. Which behaviors are you already using? In which areas might you be weak?
Rather than simply repeating the same old cycle of behaviors (and results), you can strategically create shifts that change how your organization operates. However you assess your current behaviors, you can find ways to improve!
As you seek to grow your organization, it’s vital you find ways to make positive improvements. Shifting to Smart State is the first step towards a healthier organization. Regardless of where you are now, you can always improve.
How will you shift your team members into Smart State?