As founders and leaders, none of us dream about building an organization where we surround ourselves with a bunch of organizational terrorists (a.k.a. jerks).

None of us longed for or dreamed of the people issues, dysfunction, or the hard stuff. No, we imagined a different type of organization, one where people bring their brains to work, are happy to work together, really want to be here, where there is no confusion, no politics, where people are engaged.

What happens?

We get busy with work, busy growing the company, and slowly, silently, the nightmares creep in like a low fog around our feet becoming an unintended part of our imagined organization.

Cleaning this up is hard work yet, in reality it is easy work when you get your people to help, why, because it turns out that every employee wants to be able to answer yes to 7 Fundamental Questions™ and they want to be surrounded by others who can say yes too. Below are the 7 Fundamental Questions™.

  1. Do I Belong? Yes.
  2. Do I Believe? Yes.
  3. Do I understand and embrace what I am Accountable for? Yes.
  4. Do I understand and embrace how I am Measured? Yes.
  5. Do I understand and embrace how I am Heard? Yes. 
  6. Do I understand and embrace how I am Developed? Yes. 
  7. Do I understand and embrace how I maintain Balance? Yes.

Walt’s book “The Patient Organization” published by ForbesBooks dives deep into each of these questions. 

Understanding the on-going effort required to attain and maintain yes to the 7 Fundamental Questions.

Who owns the work? The on-going effort comes from both employees and the organization. Understanding how much effort and who is responsible is key to success. (Note: %s below are awareness guidelines, but use your common sense.)

%

Company Effort

%

Individual Effort

DO I BELONG?

Yes means…

Organization: We have clearly defined our core values, positions and all skills need for our positions.

Team member: I fit the organization’s core values, and I have or can develop the skills my positions demand.

Effort: The organization/company is the keeper of the standards and assumes “90%” of the effort load to enforce this promise. It is up to the individual to be aware and stay aligned, “10%”

Heavy Lift: We facilitate Core Value discoveries and help test them and understand how you will use them as part of your OOS to hire and fire around them, protecting your Culture.

%

Company Effort

%

Individual Effort

DO I BELIEVE?

Yes means…

Organization: We know our why, it keeps us super focused and allows us to have a clearly laid out strategy for achieving it.

Team member: I believe in our why and leadership’s strategy for achieving it. I get Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” – the why, the how and the what of my organization.

Effort: While we want our people to be involved, it is up to leadership, the organization, to set and keep the strategic direction and focus of the company, leadership owns “80%” of this standard keeping and why reminding. The individual must put in effort to understand and believe in the direction, “20%”.

Heavy Lift: We facilitate deep Strategic Planning efforts. You will leave with the team being 100% on the same page to these things.

A Master Vision – Your WhyYour HowYour Whatyour long-term north star, Big Hairy Audacious Goals. A clear understanding of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to who you will go through to reach your goals – guides your marketing strategy.

A Sub Vision and Your Critical Success Factors to make the Sub Vision come alive – A clearly laid out 3-year horizon verbally painting the picture of the most important sub-visions that must be in place along with key metrics you will be shooting for.

A one year plan outlining your Critical Success Factors – We follow the Critical Success Factor of strategic thinking, McKenzie and Harvard. You will have very clearly laid out CSFs for your one-year effort. We will set your first set of Seasonal Priorities that will get you moving on your CSFs

%

Company Effort

%

Individual Effort

AM I ACCOUNTABLE?

Yes means…

Organization: We have done the hard work as an organization to be sure our accountability, responsibility and position structure is clear.

Team member: I understand and embrace the purpose of my positions and what I should be thinking about and doing in each.

Effort: This is a fun one. Remember the context, we have to assume we are talking about a 7 Promises Certified Great Workplace™ workforce here.  The company needs to be very firm about what it must have from the organization and the structure, “60%”, but, we are expecting our individual contributors to be subject matter experts (SMEs) with a complete buy-in and awareness of what is going on around them. They should be uniquely situated to suggest organizational changes and alignments for the greater good, thus they carry “40%”. 

Heavy Lift: We start with Leadership and take a deep dive into the 7P Organizational Cognizance Model (copyright). (“OCM”) The intent of this Heavy Lift is to 1) inform and 2) train. This heavy lift is about awareness and training for Senior Leaders around Organizational Structure and Awareness. Depending on the circumstance, we will often engage deeper into your organization to refine your work and to teach your team members how to facilitate and coach this most important tool. 

%

Company Effort

%

Individual Effort

AM I MEASURED WELL?

Yes means…

Organization: We have agreed upon ways, including concrete numbers, to objectively measure all team members and allow them the autonomy to meet these metrics.

Team member: I understand and embrace how and why I am measured and know what constitutes “a good job.”

Effort: This is a fun one too. Remember the context, we have to assume we are talking about a 7 Promises Certified Great Workplace™ workforce here.  The company needs to be very firm about what it must have from the organization and the structure, “60%”, but, we are expecting our individual contributors to be subject matter experts (SMEs) with a complete buy-in and awareness of what is going on around them. They should be uniquely situated to suggest goal and measurement changes and alignments for the greater good. 

Heavy Lift: This work is closely related to our work in the Organizational Awareness Model and is basically covered in that Heavy Lift. We will facilitate workshops to refine and gain understanding.

%

Company Effort

%

Individual Effort

AM I HEARD?

Yes means…

Organization: We have clearly defined and followed communication channels to build trust and spur debate and solve problems.

Team member: I understand and embrace how I am heard and how my organization listens.

Effort: Again, remember the context, we have to assume we are talking about a 7 Promises Certified Great Workplace™ workforce here.  The company needs to be very firm about what its meeting structure is and precise on how and when it listens “30%”,  but, we are expecting our 7 yeses employees to put forth the effort to understand when and how they are heard and to make an effort to speak up and be heard, it falls on them and we are doing this for them, not to them. 

Heavy Lift: This is a pretty simple lift where our goal is to raise the awareness of the two types of meetings In and On and what makes a great meeting and what destroys one. Then we move to a full inventory of your meeting structure and help you learn how to challenge and refine your meeting structure on a seasonal basis. 

%

Company Effort

%

Individual Effort

AM I DEVELOPED?

Yes means…

Organization: We have a system that helps team members take charge of their development.

Team member: I understand, embrace, and control how I am developed

Effort: Again, remember the context, we have to assume we are talking about a 7 Promises Certified Great Workplace™ workforce here.  We also have to remember that 50% of our employees are lower case 7 yeses, neutral engagement, which is ok and the company needs to be very firm and precise in communication with employees about their opportunities for and how they are developed. 

Heavy Lift: Our philosophy is this. If you nail Belong, Believe, Accountable, Heard and Measured, then 80% of your Development effort will be solved and the rest is up to whoever is Accountable (see the OAM model again) for installing formal training and development. If you need deeper handholding in this, we will introduce you to people we know.

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Company Effort

%

Individual Effort

AM I BALANCED?

Yes means…

Organization: We are honest about our workloads and have in place mechanisms that allow for balancing.

Team member: I understand and embrace this organization’s work-life balance mechanisms and actively participate in our goal of balance, I am balanced.

Effort: Balance is about work-life, financial (can they live within what we can pay) and are they well. We can not mind meld and read the thoughts of our folks, we can only be very clear and precise as to how we pay attention and help them with their balance. It is up to them to step in and take an active role. 

Heavy Lift: As with Developed, our philosophy is this. If you nail Belong, Believe, Accountable, Heard and Measured, then 80% of your Balance effort will be solved and the rest is up to whoever is Accountable for employee benefits, wages and salaries and wellness.