In most organizations, culture and strategy tend to be discussed in separate conversations.
Executives know that a negative culture can hurt company performance, but they may not know how to deal with it.
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Walk into a Starbucks anywhere in the world, and you will find a consistently comfortable and welcoming ambiance. You don't get that simply by telling your staff to be warm and friendly.
When most companies try to improve their culture, they focus on the negative aspects and try to improve them. Although this may sound reasonable, the opposite approach is more successful.
This approach has far more power than a “culture initiative” because it lets people bring their own emotional energy to a business where they feel they have a stake.
Uncertainty is always there. The degree of uncertainty can rise and fall.
Leaders, being human, also have difficulty coping with uncertainty. When they receive confusing information, they tend to react in predictable ways that are not always constructive. They also use judgment shortcuts to make decisions.
Just as leaders who deliver only performance may do so at a cost that the organization is unwilling to bear, those who focus only on inspiration may find that they motivate the masses but are undermined by ordinary results.
A leader who employs too much charisma can come to rely on this ability as an end unto itself. Charismatic leaders can charm themselves.
Authentic leaders understand (and continually calibrate) the influence and authority they have by virtue of their position and personal attributes.