When our strong-willed, highly independent youngest son (now 16) was about 2 years old, I realized I needed to learn some parenting “strategies,” or I was going to be in big trouble.
I signed up for a Parenting class that used the book, “Life in the Family Zoo” as the basis for its curriculum.
One of its theories is the “family constellation” which explains that while all kids are born into the “same” family, they are actually born into “different” families because of their birth order.
The oldest child is born into a family, and is immediately the center of the world. They believe everything revolves around them – because it does. They don’t need to know how to share the spotlight until perhaps a sibling comes along. This is the only perspective they know.
When another child comes along, they instinctively learn what it’s like to share the spotlight. They’ve never been the only child; that is a foreign concept. They are also born to more experienced, more comfortable, and more tired parents. They are entering into a very different environment than their sibling, and they quickly learn how to get along with others. They fill a different role.
Both perspectives are correct; both perspectives shape their viewpoints about the family, and shape their relationships with the other family members.
The “constellation” theory applies to organizations as well.
While your employees all work for the “same” company, they all come to work with unique perspectives and frames of reference. They view your company through a different lens. As a result, they have very valuable insights into what’s happening in your company that you don’t have.
With many of my clients, I encourage the use of 360-degree leadership assessments or organizational culture audits to gain an understanding of how their employees perceive them as leaders, and how they feel about the organization.
Our employees are the single most important sources for information about our organization, yet so many companies neglect to tap into this amazing resource.
In 100% of my engagements, there is a disconnect between how the leadership team perceives the organization, and how the employees perceive it. It’s impossible for leaders to understand and be cognizant of the perspectives of every other person or function in the company.
Their employees think differently, they have different responsibilities, they engage with different people, and they see the company from a different vantage point.
Employees are a gold mine of company information. And, they are available to you at any time to share their wisdom! Their insights can lead to improved morale, productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Failing to capture this information can lead to attrition of people, customers, and revenues.
If you have not surveyed your employees lately, this may be something you wish to consider!
The most effective process is to bring in an objective third party that has experience in organizational development, and can administer an anonymous survey. Then, the employees are correctly educated on the process, and they are comfortable providing candid feedback. This expert can analyze the results, and recommend a plan of action to close the gap between the executive team’s perception and the employee’s perceptions.
Similarly, your customers are also gold mines of information. Even with the best communication, business owners are often out of touch with how customers perceive their organization. Getting this type of feedback at any time during your engagements will help you to not only serve them better; it will strengthen your entire organization.
Blogs, podcasts, videos, and conferences are wonderful sources of information from third parties. However, they will never replace the critical insight your employees and customers can share.
Life doesn’t have to be about “or.” You don’t have to choose external knowledge “or” internal knowledge. Our richest lessons and experiences often manifest when we approach life from “and.”
(Image property of Peanuts/Charles Schulz)
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About Successful Culture
We work with business owners, CEOs, and leadership teams that want to achieve their greatest personal & organizational potential. Through coaching, strategic consulting, retreat facilitation, and workshops, we equip leaders & emerging leaders with the mindset, tools, strategies, and processes they need to excel.
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Wishing you joy and success on your journey!
CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”