Content, the stuff we do, the work we take on, how we do it, all the conversations we have, the things in our lives…
Context, the meaning we make of all of the above. Quite often organisations, colleagues or employees, indeed customers or our community – however we chose to describe them – they’re all just people, who get drawn into focusing on the Content – we get busy doing more stuff, after all it’s so tangible, (even addictive?) and it’s easy to measure…
…and we start to lose connection with the CONTEXT.
As we lose connection to the Context we start to lose connection to the meaning, the Why we do what we do on a daily basis. This gives us great access and opportunity.
Quite often large shifts in groups of people in organisations can be achieved less by looking at the Content, (although that may be necessary) but more by redefining and reinvigorating the Context, the frame of reference within which people go about their work.
When people have more meaning for what they do each day, (and this connects with their personal values and beliefs) they can then choose themselves to do what is the right thing because they are connected to the bigger picture.
This then leads us to the distinction we use about leadership and management. Management is about handling complexity and there is a hell of a lot of complexity (content) that needs to be managed each day. that is the role of management, a hugely vital role.
That simplicity starts with a Higher Purpose, because when people are very clear on their Higher Purpose, the context or the bigger picture, they are better able to work out what is needed and how best to achieve it. This is particularly important in Safety or any organisations where there is remote working or a distributed population – people who are working autonomously and may not be closely supervised. It is extremely important under these conditions that people have the simplicity of leadership – great clarity on the context, the Higher Purpose, because they don’t always have someone to confer with (to remind them of their Higher Purpose). They have to make decisions themselves to do the right thing on the spot (in isolation).
Quite often for any organisation, the great opportunity is to create that simplicity through great leadership – it is an opportunity to release the next level of performance. We have a choice as to where to intervene next, do we turn up the volume on the management side, i.e. more tools, systems, processes etc. or do we turn it up on the leadership side? But here’s the important point – the more we lead, the greater the clarity of our cause, our belief, our Higher Purpose, the less we have to manage.
When we create the clarity of the Higher Purpose we create a space into which people can step, and step up, which means that they can chose to relate differently to the content, what they do and who they do it for and relate to these things as ways to enable more of their Higher Purpose.
So, this is where WhyNot tends to focus on, releasing extraordinary potential/performance through people in organisations. Most organisations that have been around a bit have got management cracked – if they didn’t have this sorted the organisation simply wouldn’t exist anymore. So, the biggest potential we see is in the leadership/context space, getting reconnected at a very human level to why you do what it is you do and supporting/enabling people to see what it is they do as a full expression of that.
Let me illustrate this by an example. We were asked to ‘train’ a Police Service’s 600 Supervisors and Sergeants in the Police Code of Ethics. This was a nationally defined program, all well thought through with valuable content, but of course, existed for people initially as just more stuff to do. With our client, we took a different approach to simply train this group of people, discover and formulate the Service’s Higher Purpose. By engaging all of the population in this process. This was led by the senior team who then introduced Ethics as a choice everyone could make to better fulfil on their Higher Purpose. This group of people took on owning the Ethics as the Context from which they would do their work, rather than something they had to do. They then set up structures to discuss and learn what this meant for each individual and a sustainable and self-regulating process was established – ‘Police Ethics’ for people simply means becoming who they are, and one way that enabled everyone to fulfil on their Higher Purpose.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.