Cultural Patterns – Part 3
“MAKE IT SO”
If you’re a fan of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, then you’re familiar with this phrase. I can see it now….Captain Jean-Luc Picard standing on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, facing a situation requiring action. He asks for options, listens to recommendations, and conveys a decision to move forward by telling the crew to Make-It-So. His decision communicates “what” needs to happen, but he trusts the crew to figure out “how”. This is the essence of a Make-It-So (MIS) culture, a pervasive attitude of leadership throughout an organization, resulting in an environment that supports growth, encourages exploration, demands excellence, and emphasizes accountability.
In an MIS culture, everyone has a place in the fabric of the organization….they are valued and valuable, and they know it. Everyone has an important part to play….and they are expected to play it. People are skilled and competent….and because they are, they’re confident. People are empowered, they are “granted permission” to contribute ideas, to make decisions, to take risks…to “make it so”.
Ten characteristics I’ve experienced in an MIS culture include:
“When nothing is certain, everything is possible.” – Margaret Drabble
We are informed by, but not tied to, what was. We are grounded in the here and now, yet remain open to what could be. We don’t drag ourselves down with visions of doom, but maintain a sense of hope and optimism.
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell.
When vision and purpose are visible and shared, it provides us context. We know the direction and why, so we can act and make decisions accordingly.
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” – John Donne
We know it “takes a village” and we can’t do it alone. Success depends on the combined strengths and contributions of everyone.
“The key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be, and when they’re not, we cry.” – David Duchovny
We trust in each other’s positive intent, and believe everyone does the right thing at the right time with the information they have. We act, make decisions, and move on. While we reflect on what we learn from experience, we don’t undermine confidence by second guessing ourselves or others.
“It’s not what we profess, but what we practice that gives us integrity.” – Sir Francis Bacon
We seek to know ourselves, to be ourselves, to be proud of ourselves, our organization, our place in it, and our contributions. Our actions are congruent with who we are, our beliefs, our passions, and our strengths. We own our decisions and choices, and their consequences.
“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.” – H. Jackson Brown
We strive for excellence, and excellence requires discipline in little things on a daily basis.
“There is no such thing as a “self-made” man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.” – George Burton Adams
We grow through support and encouragement, which helps us spread our wings, improve, gain confidence, and reach our potential.
“We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.” – Max de Pree
We know that too much sameness stagnates an organization, so we explore and leverage differences to open the door to possibilities.
“Courage does not always roar, sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying “I will try again tomorrow.”” – Mary Ann Radmacher
The rewards are greatest when we take chances, risk exposure, and step outside our comfort zone. Leaders nurture and reward courage.
“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times” – Paolo Coelho
It’s not just a matter of having the will to get back up and keep on going. We must also have the “health” to do that. As an organization and as individuals, we take care of ourselves so we can continue to bounce back.
An organization which cultivates an environment like this, is one where people are important. And when people are important, they collaborate, they innovate, they adapt quickly to change, they “dare greatly”…..and amazing things happen.
Gee, that sounds an awful lot like an Agile environment!
What do you think?