6 rules to creating the ideal organisation

Creating the ideal organisation is considered to be much like finding the Holy Grail – hard if not impossible. But this didn’t stop Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones, experts in Organisational Behaviour, to take up the challenge. Three years and many hundreds of hours of research, they found that an ideal organisation must be authentic and must nurture the development of authenticity in all those involved in the firm.

But the question still remained: what does an authentic organisation look like? And with more research, Goffee and Gareth came to the conclusion that an ideal organisation has 6 virtues which they kindly summarised in their simple questionnaire which is replicated below.

The simplicity of the questionnaire may produce a false confidence that these elements can be easily drafted into a firm – but that is not so.

Change – cultural change, takes time and resources. It is unsettling and creates fear. And to ease the fear, leaders must show the way and let all people in and around the firm know what the firm will look like when the mantle is changed. Careful planning and monitoring is required for the transition to become successful.

Have you created an ideal organisation? It would be fun (and informative) to consider your firm against what is considered to be the best. Complete the questionnaire to gain insight into where your firm differs to this perfection. It is reasonable to assume that few ticks will equate to less than optimal results. It is also reasonable to assume that your results will improve if you increase the number of ticks you get.

When you finish this task, ask yourself the question – what is it costing you and your firm to keep the status quo, and what would be gained if you had more ticks? Identify the strategy needed, then ask yourself the BIG question – what can you do now, this minute and in the next 3 months to make this change happen? The next step is up to you.

1. Let Me Be Myself

I’m the same person at home as I am at work.
I feel comfortable being myself.
We’re all encouraged to express our differences.
People who think differently from most do well here.
Passion is encouraged, even when it leads to conflict.
More than one type of person fits in here.

2. Tell Me What’s Really Going On

We’re all told the whole story.
Information is not spun.
It’s not disloyal to say something negative.
My manager wants to hear bad news.
Top executives want to hear bad news.
Many channels of communication are available to us.
I feel comfortable signing my name to comments I make.

3. Discover and Magnify My Strengths

I am given the chance to develop.
Every employee is given the chance to develop.
The best people want to strut their stuff here.
The weakest performers can see a path to improvement.
Compensation is fairly distributed throughout the organization.
We generate value for ourselves by adding value to others.

4. Make Me Proud I Work Here

I know what we stand for.
I value what we stand for.
I want to exceed my current duties.
Profit is not our overriding goal.
I am accomplishing something worthwhile.
I like to tell people where I work.

5. Make My Work Meaningful

My job is meaningful to me.
My duties make sense to me.
My work gives me energy and pleasure.
I understand how my job fits with everyone else’s.
Everyone’s job is necessary.
At work we share a common cause.

6. Don’t Hinder Me with Stupid Rules

We keep things simple.
The rules are clear and apply equally to everyone.
I know what the rules are for.
Everyone knows what the rules are for.
We, as an organization, resist red tape.
Authority is respected.

(Questionnaire Source: Creating the Best Workplace on Earth by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones, Harvard Business Review Magazine)

Examine the number of ticks in your questionnaire – the more ticks the better. Then, identify the strategies that you can apply to make a massive change in your business. What can you do now, this minute and in the next 3 months to make this change happen? The next step is up to you.

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