We’re living in exceptional times. Our world was already changing at a pace that was difficult to maintain, but since the onset of Covid19, traditional thinking and working has been uprooted and deposited as a new challenge. But this also presents us with an opportunity: an opportunity to test our resolve, our systems and processes. It is also a chance to discard convention that is inconsistent with the future direction of society’s travel and calibrate organisational culture with purpose.
Our new destination is to make companies more agile, reactive to societal changes, with a beacon of leadership that proposes a more inclusive future for all stakeholders.
I’m talking about evolving our organisations into TABLE organisations, reshaping relationships with customers, staff and other stakeholders.
A TABLE is one that exhibits the following characteristics: T – THINKING with reflection A – ACTING with purpose B – BEHAVING inclusively L – LOOKING diverse E – EXPRESSING EMOTION
T=Thinking With Reflection
A TABLE organisation is one that allows time for thinking and reflection. It has a culture that welcomes a coaching-style approach to leadership and encourages everyone involved to take individual responsibility for their actions. At the same time, it is led with the benefit of experience and reflection, as well as an appetite for thinking and learning. The Black Lives Matter movement, for instance, has given us an excellent opportunity to pause, reflect and institute impactful changes that address the persisting challenges around racism.
A=Acting with Purpose
In the words of Simon Sinek, a TABLE organisation starts with “why”. The “why” is the purpose.
A purpose that is specific to the particular organisation can act as a litmus test for all organisational activity, constantly asking the question: is this consistent with our purpose or are we straying away from it?
During lockdown, the overriding purpose of most companies has been to ensure both staff and customers are coping well, are connected to each other and are safe. With such a narrow focus and purpose, many leaders were surprised at how quickly they could set up channels of communication, how much empathy colleagues and bosses displayed, how dedicated and motivated everyone was and, in the end, how well everyone coped.
An organisation that unites behind a clear and stated purpose is better equipped to motivate and pull in the same direction. And that became crystal clear during the lockdown.
Most of us think of ourselves as being inclusive. And for the most part we are, so long as it doesn’t require much effort. We encourage and support, we extend rules and policies and we welcome a few token individuals that make our circle more diverse.
But rarely are these efforts enough.
When I talk about “behaving inclusively”, I mean going the extra mile to understand what we don’t know or see and then another mile to develop new habits that allow us to better understand and cater to people from vastly different backgrounds.
L= Looking Diverse
Diversity is the reward for inclusion. An inclusive culture is able to attract, retain and promote a diverse population.
Diversity increases the level of creativity and innovation, begets new ideas and offers previously unnoticed experiences and opinions. It is the gateway to a more complete set of data.
The more diverse and inclusive an organisation, the more information it has to utilise for the fulfilment of its purpose. Lack of diversity at the top therefore, limits what we can achieve.
E= Expressing Emotion
An organisation that is in touch with its feelings, that is unafraid of expressing decisions and motivations in terms of emotions will be better equipped to attract the talent of tomorrow. Emotional and psychological safety is a large part of today’s and tomorrow’s well-oiled, well-functioning organisation. Creating and demonstrating safe space conversations that allow colleagues to express how they feel are valuable tools for leaders who want to attract bright talent. An organisation that speaks from the heart and the mind will be better equipped to deliver on its purpose for more of its stakeholders.
Does your organisation have 5 legs?
To find out which of the 5 legs of your TABLE organisation are more stable and which require more support, get in touch with me.