It may be an age thing but I really don’t like being told what to do, do you? I have never found it efficient to tell people what to do (including my children!) It also so happens that neuroscience tells us that as human beings, we have very little dominion over our actions … yet many organizations still have management or leadership models as sets of behaviors to adopt in order to be a “good” manager or a “good” leader, often expressed as do’s and don’ts. In such models, people are then trained to adopt these behaviors, according to the belief that if they behave in this way more often than not, performance will improve. How is it working in your company?

The business world that we have to navigate in order to succeed is all but predictable or linear and what has worked in the past is rarely a predictor of future success. So attempting to predict and “force” good behaviors is at best time-consuming and at worst counter-productive. Yet people need to be equipped to manage the complexity of their environment, and they need to find meaning in what they do in order to bring their best to work.

Developing leadership as a culture rather than an individual training opportunity creates an environment where people act in the best interest of their ecosystem (their company, its customers, suppliers, their colleagues, and themselves). Anchored in a powerful “Raison d’être” (reason for being) or mission for the company, specific and inspiring ways of being can be articulated, and employees of all levels invited to embrace these ways of being as they perform their work. As human beings, we can choose our ways of being, our attitudes, our mindset. Inviting people to take on inspiring ways of being and aligning company processes to make room for them is a strong driver of employee engagement, much-needed agility, and performance. This may be the lever for the sustainable performance we have all been looking for.

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