We are working with an organization that has several locations worldwide. This organization is transitioning from a European-financed and U.S.-managed company into a global, multi-cultural leadership team with global resources. The difference between these two organizational and business models is quite dramatic.
The transition from one model to another is challenging due to its physically disruptive nature as well as the changes in mindsets, attitudes and habits that need to occur. Their journey is just beginning and may last for decades. The key right now is not creating more change and chaos, but instead to smoothly deepen and broaden the change that is occurring and to continue to do so over the next three years.
At Applied Vision Works (AVW), we utilize many tools to assist our client. Most of these tools come from our arsenal, which has been built over many years. Some “repackaging” of these tools has now occurred to better meet their needs.
One way AVW is deepening and broadening some of our tools is based on a recent brain study done by Kathy Kolbe of Kolbe Corporation. In looking at the maps of the brain under different circumstances, it was very obvious which scenarios related to dramatically higher levels of creativity, productivity and results. It seemed to us that these images of the brain are actually “Health Maps”. When there is a lot of the color red, the health of the brain is not good and is clearly under stress.
In our work with clients, many times we utilize green to signify healthy activities and results while using yellow to signify a level of unhealthy activity and results and red to show an emergency where action needs to occur right away. The use of colors provides a visual cue (in addition to the written word) and is one of many tools we use to assess and redirect organizations.
Recently, we decided that a change needed to occur in engaging with this particular team. Previously when discussing their journey, we have been asking “how the war was going.” (They had put together a “war wall” that showed the progress being made within the organization.) Every time we asked this question of them, it conjured up images of generals around a map deciding to put resources in different places. Implied in this was pain, bombs, people being wounded or killed, etc. While this analogy may be appropriate in some circumstances, when a company, a team or a person has gone through much and is tired, but also has a long distance still to go, the images related to war create a sense of an endurance contest. Instead, the mindset we are working to actually create is one of energy, creativity, deepening and more effective tools, resources, capabilities and results. It is a journey of hope we want to have our team engaging in and not a war of endurance. Now that our perspectives have changed, we are now working towards changing those of our clients.
In our work with clients, we insist on having measurable goals. If results are not measured, how do you know if it is getting better or worse? We also stress that clients set a minimum standard of reviewing their strategic results on a monthly basis. Where we have previously packaged these within the context of fighting a war and using a war room or wall to make it highly visible, it has worked well. However, after being impacted by the vibrant colors of the health map of the human brain, we have realized that instead of a war map, this client and many of our clients actually need The Health Map.
In this case, The Health Map has ended up with three parts. The middle and largest part of The Health Map is a map of the world with a flag posted at each of the organization’s locations around the world. Each flag has a number on it related to the production of the facility and the morale of the team. For example, Barcelona might have an 18 on it which would come from a production level of 9 (quality and volume) and a morale of the team (excited and creative) at a 9. The flag would be green. Beijing, on the other hand, might have red flag with an 11 stemming from production at a level of 5 and morale of 6.
It is also helping this organization to have leadership team that is half American and half other citizens of the world, enabling them to have increased perspective and ability to think about the health of every “organ” (location) of the organization. In fact, the word organization has the word “organ” in it. By definition, an organ is a differentiated structure that performs a specific function. In the past, this particular team has been paying much attention to the heart – or corporate aspect – and not investing as much time in coordinating all organs/locations of the body. The Health Map provides a whole different perspective and prevents the organization from focusing too much on what happens at the North American headquarters.
Another result is that the headquarters has now become more of a “laboratory” where ideas are tested and then rolled out to other locations. An employee survey which was being conducted at corporate headquarters is now being rolled out to every other location, taking into account cultural and management differences. This survey is providing powerful feedback so that all locations can help one another.
The second part of The Health Map is a list of the Key SMAART Goals along with The Key Strategies that support those goals that are located on the left side. As you may have guessed, they are also identified with the colors green, yellow and red and are updated monthly. The last part of The Health Map shows the current tools and initiatives that are being used tactically to improve the overall health of the organization.
The Health Map (example)
In this specific case, even though we have not lessened the changes occurring, we have been able to dramatically change the perspective of the leadership team and the culture. Instead of “corporate” engaging in a war, the leadership team is dramatically increasing their results at each location and as an organization overall. This comes from being able to see and understand what really needs to be done. It comes from a focus on the “health” of the organization and not the “war”.
While there is still a long distance to go, most employees feel more engaged and excited about both the long term vision and the short term goals as well as the methods being used to get there. The 8% of employees that do not feel better are the “C” players that would be happier in an entirely different environment.
The results and the morale around the world have improved since using this approach. It is no different than what AVW has done, other than using a more powerful story that is based on health, to engage the leaders and the culture.
Now when we run a meeting, we walk into the room and see the health of the organization and we get right to talking about what needs to be done to improve the health. Being able to walk into the conference room and see the picture of the health of the locations on The Health Map is powerful.
That is much more fun than asking how the war is going.
The Comprehensive Independence Builder
If you are interested in learning more about how to create a Health Map for your organization, contact us at 800-786-4332, or Info@AppliedVisionWorks.com.
You may also wish to learn more about our unique process for leaders called The Comprehensive Independence BuilderTM, in which we address all of the obstacles you face and help you use innovative strategies to protect and enhance your organization, improve your quality of life, and better achieve your goals.