Still versus sparkling organisational culture

Business owners often lament that they have to provide all the direction and constantly tell their people what to do and how to do it.

These same business owners have responsibilities for strategy, planning, finances, operations, marketing, sales, and often report that they feel drained by constantly having to push down from the top.

This situation is often reported in emerging enterprises, growing from a small base and where accountabilities and delegated responsibilities are not clearly established.

Larger staid organisations can experience the same symptoms but these can be hidden amongst layers of management and divisions.

At lower levels in the organisation there can be a number of inhibitors

  • People may not have the knowledge or skills to make an effective contribution
  • People may feel that their contribution is not required; and
  • The use of initiative may not be encouraged and in some situations, can be suppressed.

Feelings of frustration pervade amongst management and can either be internalised or manifest in overt frustration or bluntness as people revert to a ‘command and control’ response.

Just as the bubbles rise to the top in sparkling water, initiative, ideas and enthusiasm must be allowed to rise through organisational levels.

Companies that have recognised this potential within, consistently outperform their peers and lead in the innovation race.

At both ends of the equation, initiative and enthusiasm can be measured – at staff levels we can identify those more likely to contribute ideas and have higher levels of initiative and self-motivation.

At management levels we can identify those managers (owners and upper/middle) who may be more receptive to collaborative input and nurture that quality within people.

This can help us find and develop people with the skills we want within the organisation at the team building/recruitment stage and help existing managers understand their own leadership style and receptiveness to change and new ideas.

We have the tools to help businesses work through these challenges and to be able to take better advantage of the opportunities that can present.

As in the water analogy – the organisational choice is: ‘would you like still or sparkling?’

Rowen Gransden is a practitioner and Distributor of Harrison Assessments


Rowen Gransden

Founder – Smart Advantage & Recruit Smart