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Building purposeful people centric organizations

The global availability of vaccine is improving rapidly though there is still huge disparity between the rich nations in the west and developing countries. In India, specifically, the availability of vaccines has brought in renewed thrust to economic development. People and Organizations have deep scars from the devastating delta variant induced second covid wave. As many states are conducting vaccination drives in mission mode, organizations are looking up and finding ways to get back to pre-covid levels.


The scars of the pandemic are multi-dimensional. The biggest though is emotional and has made us all look at life very differently. This has forced organizations to re-visit their strategy, address well being of their employees and look at all stakeholders as “people”.

 

As Peter Drucker’s says “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. The organizational culture needs to be on a strong foundation for strategy to be successfully implemented. As a result of this emotional wave we are going through, organizational strategy and culture are taking a paradigm shift to being purposeful and people-first.

 

In this first of three blogs, we will explore cultural dimensions that are becoming foundational for organizations to build a progressive recipe for success.


Here are the first two dimensions:


PURPOSE

Following on from The Psychology of Organizational Purpose, here are some additional pointers.


Traditionally, companies have always based their strategy on a “vision”. The vision is needed to set a long term orientation, while a larger “Reason for being” is needed to connect with customers, employees, suppliers and the entire eco-system. McKinsey’s top 5 priorities for CEOs to emerge stronger from the pandemic include sustainability, cultivating talent and operating with purpose. The other two are transform to cloud and need for speed.


As Simon Sinek says in this powerful video,

organizations that call out “Why” they exist have better strategies, better products and more employee affinity.


A company with a stated Purpose is more likely to practice its values and hence would garner better connect from customers resulting in not just growth, but profitable growth.


When the “Purpose” is well understood, everything the organization does, needs to align with it. Strategy, People practices, Vendor relationships, CSR initiatives, performance criteria, etc all need to be correlated to Purpose and employees really connect with the “reason for doing”. When that happens, the business results will always be a 😊.


GROWTH MINDSET

As renowned “mindset” researcher Carol S.Dweck says, the underlying beliefs that people have about learning and intelligence is what brings out the growth mindset and fixed mindset.


In today’s world, Agility is very key. This requires us to be nimble in our mind, open to ideas, share thoughts among peers and build a practice of celebrating work. The opposite end would be where one gets into a comfort zone, avoid challenges and fall into the trap of rat race comparisons.

Growth Mindset thrives on challenges, brings out creativity and does not get bogged down by failures. Failures are, in fact, seen as an opportunity to learn and improve rather than as an indication of lack of intelligence or capability.


Psychological research on academic development among children shows that when the effort they put in is praised, the number of math problems they were able to solve went up by almost 20%. On the other hand, when only intelligence was praised, the number of problems solved went down by 20%.


In organizational dynamics, we often see practices of appreciation for results achieved, but seldom for effort put it. In cultures where effort is well appreciated and failures are used as learning opportunities, the ability of the teams to achieve success is far higher. This creates practices of loving challenges, not blaming individuals for failures, efforts to break boundaries and think outside the comfort zones, put in the effort and explore new things.


When Purpose is well understood, Growth Mindset is an able ally that helps the organization to serve the purpose. It helps employees to chart their own course to deliver on the purpose. They will overcome obstacles, find solutions, take ownership, learn from mistakes and live the Purpose.

We’ll look at couple of more dimensions in the next blog. Stay tuned!!