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Did You Check for Cracks?

Happy F-in' Friday!!

Sometimes we look, and sometimes we see.

I looked at buying a house long ago. It looked like a fun project. Then the real estate agent took the tour to the basement. Block construction, water seepage, roots creeping in, and a hefty price tag to fix the issues. Someone else got to enjoy that domicile.

If you were to bring in an experienced third-party observer to your workplace, would they see the same things you do? Would they see the same signs of a positive work culture? Might they see symptoms you hadn't noticed (or maybe admitted)? If their observations speak to a larger problem, is it time to fix or abandon?

At no point do we want to hear that the problem we are facing is ➡️foundational⬅️ because that can sound insurmountable. In a house, a foundation can be fixed, even replaced, but there has to be a significant investment of time, money, and a tolerance for major disruption. When it's finished, a poor foundation is no longer a concern, but regular maintenance is needed to prevent another major issue in the future.

Fixing cultural foundational issues at work will also take time, money, and a tolerance for disruption. Once the foundational issues are repaired, consistent maintenance is also needed.

Examples of foundational issues:

  1. No one speaks up; for fear of being shot down or someone taking their idea and getting the credit or bonus or promotion as a result.

  2. Daily activities seem nearly divorced from the overall mission; not seeing a connection to the larger purpose is a great way to foster disengagement.

  3. Turnover is high, recruiting is rough; "nobody wants to work anymore" should be met with a review of competitors, if someone has a fully functioning staff, they've done something right and odds are very high it can be replicated.

These require focus and energy to fix. And when they are, helping people appreciate their own purpose, how they get better at their job, and allowing room for creativity will keep the foundation in good shape to support the entire organization.

I do not pretend to present an exhaustive list of stuff (technically speaking). What are some signs you've seen that indicate an organization is struggling with a poor foundation?

Image by JimboChan from Pixabay

Confidentially share your challenges here.

Almost every Happy F-in' Friday, I take a randomly selected and reasonably positive word starting with "F" and use it to share a leadership story or observation. Why? Why f-in' not? :)

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