We recommend that you forward this piece to your colleagues and boss to create meaningful dialogue.
Question: Does “free speech” exist in our organization?
Resting in a Colorado field, these bales of straw possess a beauty that stems from their “alikeness.”
The characteristic of “alikeness” can be of great value when the market wants and expects consistency. McDonalds comes to mind. Buy a Big Mac in Sochi, Russia at the Olympics and it tastes exactly like the one you consumed a few days earlier in Paterson, New Jersey.
But what can be positive about alikeness in straw bales or the food we purchase, can be very negative in our organizational cultures.
In Toronto to speak on “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” I got out for a long walk and passed by this building with its profound proclamation:
Cotton Candy, Inc.
When I saw “Great Minds Thinking Differently,” I thought, What a cool place to work!
Why? Because it beats being employed by the organization that plays Whack-A-Mole when people dare to think and speak differently.
Employee: “I’m not sure we’re on the right path here.”
Employee: “I recommend we consider a different strategy.”
Employee: “I fear this new system isn’t going to work.”
Employee: “I’m thinking a better course of action might be … “
Employee: “I have an idea for improving our … “
Note to the Politically Correct: I’m surely not calling anyone a mole; nor am I implying that management actually whacks people in the Jimmy Hoffa sense. 🙂
But do you live this picture? Meaning, are you in an organization that disavows the First Amendment of the United States Constitution: Free speech!
In Outstanding! we have three chapters essentially related to organizational “free speech.” Here are the chapter titles, each with a brief explanation:
Value Ideas Over Politics — Being less concerned who said something than what was said. In other words, the idea put forth always trumps its source.
Speak Up! — Managers don’t punish people for saying what’s on their mind and the individual takes personal accountability for being bold enough for doing so.
Don’t Speak in Code — No “spinning the message” or twisting truth. Just speaking plainly. Calling problems problems, not “opportunities.”
An outstanding organizations not only allows these three concepts to come to life in their culture, management and employees fight for them. They do so because they know these six benefits will occur:
- Increased creativity
- Enhanced “employee engagement”
- Greater productivity
- Faster problem-solving
- More joy and fun
- Intensified loyalty to and belief in the organization
Oh, here’s a 7th:
A lot less whispering, “When are they going to tell us what’s going on?” at the water-cooler!
Personally, I’d rather have a bunch of good minds thinking differently than a bunch of great minds thinking alike.
Because, as my grandmother (born in 1895) used to say, “If we all thought the same, someone wouldn’t be needed.”
Is your organization one of free speech or mole whacking?
Please pass this blog on to your colleagues and boss!