I’m continuing to do research with Carol Rozwell on organizational liquidity. One of the challenging parts of our job is to work through the implementation scenarios. It’s not practical to present a concept without the pragmatic advice of how to get there. Organizational liquidity is a people based skill. (It is defined as: a cultural change that shifts intervention from project level work with defined outcomes to an organizational capability that is always on, constantly monitoring patterns in the collective and seeking progress.)
Some years ago I took a course based on Stephen R. Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” In that course we did an interactive session where we defined all the roles we play in our life – for instance some typical roles could be:
• community member
• sports coach
We then prioritized these roles and talked about the behavioral norms. It was interesting to go through this thought process and look at the relationships between the roles. What one might think is important (e.g. being a “boss”) might end up as a lower priority than being a mother. This priority influences how we make decisions.
This made me think about the roles we play at work and how they are so often confused with jobs. Why is it that we can readily swap our context and play the expected role in our personal endeavors, but in organizations we seem to have a difficult time making the shift from jobs to roles? Is part of the problem our own mental models about what work is? Have we confined ourselves to a box on the org chart?
To achieve organizational liquidity we need to be able to make these shifts in our jobs, to embrace roles and tackle work with clear accountability and understanding of priority – just like we do in our everyday lives. Can we make this shift? Can we apply the learning from our personal lives to help?
I think we can but what are your thoughts?
See also this video from Value Networks.
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