Culture Chat

And other musings on humanizing the workplace
Don't Be Afraid of Homework

Don't Be Afraid of Homework

April 17, 2017
Jamie Notter

One of the key steps in our Workplace Genome Activation Program is to complete what we call a Priorities Workshop. After the internal team gets access to their Workplace Genome data (and it's a LOT of data), they then come together in a workshop to try to make sense of the data and use it to start to align the culture with internal success drivers. This is hard work, and the priorities they come up with are critical—they guide the rest of the process, where they will put together a playbook designed to strengthen the culture.

And to make this hard work pay off, there is some homework involved. We have created specific worksheets for the internal team to fill out prior to the workshop, and this homework is essential. My business partner, Charlie, chastises me all the time—“Don’t call it homework! No client ever will want to do homework!”

And I get it, but here’s the deal: if you’re not willing to do the homework, then maybe this whole culture thing just isn’t for you. Maybe you should just go back to working “in the business” rather than “on the business” and let your culture evolve organically and without intention. Believe me, there are plenty of leaders out there who take that approach.

I don’t mean to be too harsh here, but I take both culture and leadership very seriously. If anything, over the last several decades I think we have been letting our standards slip when it comes to both. I am not willing to participate in that slide, and I think a simple truth remains: to be successful as a leader, there is homework involved.

So embrace the homework. It’s only a four-hour workshop, but you might spend two hours doing work ahead of time. Why? Because as one of my clients recently told me, doing that homework required everyone in that workshop to adopt a “point of view” on the data. The data by themselves never give you the answer. You have to make sense of them. And if you work on that BEFORE you come together for the conversation, you get a much richer conversation.

Homework may not feel like fun, but it gets you much better results. And believe me, results are much more fun than the alternative.

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