Articles

  • COACHING
  • CULTURE CHANGE
  • LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Positive Change

Creating a case for culture coaches in mergers, strategic alliances and new partnerships

Those who are coaches working in organizational settings around the globe know that there are many layers of culture (e.g., national, professional, and organizational) as well as many facets of diversity (e.g., gender, ethnicity, religion and sexual preference) impacting the workplace. Add to that mix, two two very large organizations attempting to merge their cultures and you have another stream of challenges to address.

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The Power of Language

Language comes so naturally to us that we seldom stop to think about what an amazing gift it is. As well-known author Steven Pinker says, all over the world humans fashion their breath into “hisses and hums and squeaks and pops” and listen to others do the same. Why? It is not the sounds themselves, but rather it is because these sounds create meaning for us. Information and feelings generated from language are how we share our ideas in all their “unfathomable vastness.” When we listen to others speaking, we can new thoughts that may never have occurred to us on our own.

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What is a Culture Coach?

Those who are coaches working in organizational settings around the globe know that there are many layers of culture (e.g., national, professional, and organizational) as well as many facets of diversity (e.g., gender, ethnicity, religion and sexual preference) impacting the workplace. Add to that mix, two very large organizations attempting to merge their cultures and you have another stream of challenges to address. The data on tracking successful mergers is bleak—75-80 percent fail due to their inability to align and integrate their cultures . Yet in this climate of pumped-up economic competition, more mergers and acquisitions are taking place than ever before. A culture coach is a person who can help facilitate organizational learning and positive change to collectively “create the culture we desire.”

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Four Elements of Culture Change

Culture is like a river of interpretations that we land in and flow with- so much so that swimming in the river becomes little more than a background of obviousness allowing us to get on with the business of life. So immersed are we in culture, that like this river, it is often invisible to us; yet its power and its usefulness– as well as its potential dangers– are evident and felt. Culture is the acquired knowledge that people use to generate behavior and interpret experience. It is dynamic, metamorphic and contagious.

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Language of Leadership – Purpose Pt. 1

This way of using language is not about learning techniques or enhancing communication skills that already exist. It is deliberately using words in a way that actually changes the way you observe and think about the world. We are learning new patterns of speech and new rules for combining words. As a result of engaging in these new conversations, our understanding also changes. For example, can you hear the difference between a request and a demand? Do you respond differently to a negative assessment and an artful complaint?

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Seven Principles of Leadership Development

SEVEN PRINCIPLES drive NASA’s award-winning leadership development program, Leadership Alchemy, a program designed to develop “forward thinking leaders” by developing internal change catalysts who can lead the innovations that most support NASA’s mission. These principles are based on the notion that leadership is a way of being, and that doing things differently begins with a shift in thinking about things differently. All Leadership Alchemy workshops, coaching, and action learning assignments are based on these principles.

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