Does Your Organizational Culture Have BMPD?
Have you noticed how often personalities and pent-up emotions derail a team’s work? The impact on company culture, culture change, and helping to engage employees is tremendous – and largely unacknowledged in today’s overly task-focused environments. After all it’s business.
The problem with that belief is it leads to BMPD* – a human dynamic which can’t be solved by technology, which undermines performance by creating a workplace culture that can look and feel pretty schizophrenic.
*Business Multiple Personality Disorder
In our work to help leaders change corporate culture, we have noticed two personality dynamics that impact business execution more than any others.
Resilient —————————— Rigid
This scale is a person’s response to adversity, conflict, or change. People on the “Resilient” end of the scale respond to such situations with excitement, energy, and optimism. The other type responds with frustration, defeat-before-loss, and pessimism (often because they have only “one way” of doing things or “black v. white” thinking). Sometimes in your workplace, it can feel like a war between the “Yes We Can!” versus the “That Will Never Work” people. Even when people don’t say the words out loud, this dynamic has an astounding impact on performance (one or two people in key positions in the “We Can’t” camp can be toxic). This is why it’s crucial for a leader to take a strong stand on a believable goal and mission that is a catalyzing force to align “we can” and “we can’t” people.
The second high-impact characteristic is:
Extrovert —————— Introvert
People often think of these terms as “loud and out there” versus “quiet and shy.” In reality, it’s how a person gains energy. The extrovert is the first person to speak up in a meeting – they often interrupt. They always have an opinion and think out loud. The introvert needs time to think before they speak. They tend not to speak up in groups unless invited or the process is designed for it (ie, storyboarding). Yet introverts often have great insights or ideas. The impact on business is best seen in meetings where some of the best ideas never get on the table because 2-3 people who dominate lead a group down a path – and it ends up being an incomplete path or the wrong path.
If diversity is the fabric of strength in a world of rapid change, how do you channel BMPD into fuel for your business?
3 Tips for Building Corporate Cultures with Positive BMPD
1) Notice, don’t judge. People rarely make sustainable improvements in their behavior and communications when they feel judged. Judging creates defensiveness. If you notice someone’s personality is creating conflict on the team, use the timeless wisdom “seek to understand.”
2) Ask: “What is our goal right now?” Clarifying your goal levels the playing field for all types. It’s incredible how much you can “un-stick” a team and get forward-movement just from asking “what’s our goal” or “what is our purpose right now?”
3) Appreciate publicly the small behaviors people do that support your values (which assumes you have defined them). This is a powerful way of shaping a company culture that appreciates and celebrates diversity and multiple ways of expressing oneself.
Innovation and creativity come from diversity – the corporate world needs to tap it, not stifle it.
Lisa Jackson and Gerry Schmidt are corporate culture experts, helping companies improve performance through sensible methods of changing company culture, and aligning it with unprecedented change and transformation.