“Constructive Disagreement, Then Loyalty”. I still remember this vividly as a behavioral expectation for a company I worked with over 25 years ago. There were 9 others which I don’t recall but with this one it encouraged debate, point of view, even disagreement; but then there was an expectation that once a decision was made, everybody would be committed and loyal. I liked that!
As part of any planning process, most progressive companies labor over how they want the management and staff in order to execute upon the strategic intent. Much of what they come up with is truly admirable and there is a consensus that if everybody was to follow along, it would be a magnificent place to work and success would be eminent. Unfortunately most of it goes no further than the paper it is written on. Why is this?
In truth, like may similar endeavors, it is high on intent and poor on execution. For many, conforming to these expectations requires them to behave different to what they normally do. If constructive disagreement, then loyalty doesn’t sit well with you outside of work, you can’t just hit a switch and expect that you will when inside.
The other obvious reason is that in order to ensure a certain expectation of behaviors, those leading must model them. However many of these “leaders” think in terms of how others should show up rather than taking a hard look in the mirror themselves. Jim Collins, in the book Good to Great, put it so eloquently when he described Level 5 leaders as possessing this unique blend of personal humility and professional resolve. Associated with these traits are some unique behaviors that were modeled by these successful leaders but then subsequently expected of their employees.
In the end, these are only expectations and, in reality, sometimes they are present and often not. However there is an honorable intent in creating them in the first place and with perseverance, they can be slowly woven into the fabric of an organization. Behaviors are a function of one’s Emotional Intelligence and when combined with Intellectual Capacity form the bridge to organization success and sustainability. What do you think?