Honoring Your Core Identity
Once an organization has clarified its Core Identity, how does it achieve Peak Performance? In this excerpt from The Shift from Me to Team, which will be published this year, we continue with the Culture Clarification process we use with clients: How to honor the Core Identity.
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Possessing a clarified Core Identity is not enough to create Peak Performance. This is where leadership plays a most significant role. What have we been doing well that we need to continue? What Peak Performance practices need to be institutionalized? We have found great success in getting teams to visualize what must be in place for this desired culture to thrive. And we ask them to envision how this effort can fail.
Essential Success Factors
Each team member has cast their vote. The organization’s Purpose, Vision, and Guiding Principles have been drafted. We have the words, stories, and the emotions of what the team looks and feels like at Peak Performance.
What happens next?
Thousands of organizations have undertaken some version of Culture Clarification—writing mission, purpose, operating statements, etc.—without impacting the organization’s daily operations and decision-making.
Honoring the Core Identity as the organization’s compass means reinforcing the Core Identity . . . every day.
How will team members honor the Core Identity moving forward? How do those Guiding Principles transition from words to an internalized and systematized way of working together? How do we establish better habits?
The question we pose to team members: Imagine the success and the sense of flow created because the Core Identity is honored. What are the requirements of the organization to make that possible?
The following are examples of Essential Success Factors clients regularly share:
- Leadership role-models the clarified culture.
- We are tweaking/adjusting current systems to better honor our Core Identity.
- We proactively and respectfully address violations of the Core Identity.
- We take time to share stories honoring our Core Identity.
- We celebrate exemplary behavior.
- We proactively seek feedback from stakeholders (patients, customers, vendors, community members, etc.) regarding their perception of who we are.
- We reference our Core Identity when tough decisions are made.
- We strategically plan with our Vision as the compass.
- All those being promoted honor our Core Identity.
In revealing the organization’s Core Identity, team members have imagined an energizing culture. What could get in the way of that thriving state of flow?
The question posed to team members: What could derail the success of this Culture that permits us to perform at our best? How might we fail to capitalize on the work we have done?
The following are examples of Critical Failure Factors we regularly hear from clients:
- We do our work tomorrow the same way we did it yesterday.
- We do not call each other on confusing actions that seem to hinder “at our best” performance.
- Leadership does not try to role-model “at our best.”
- We do not take the time to celebrate “at our best” behaviors and decisions.
- We do not address the issue of individuals who seem to be self-interested at our expense.
The desired culture embodied in the words of the Core Identity represents what the organization desires to be. But at this point, they are just words on a page. It’s aspirational. The work to have the Core Identity of who we are is just beginning. Discussing the Essential Success Factors and Critical Failure Factors is a critical step toward identifying and implementing systems that will reinforce the Core Identity for the future.