The year was 2005, I had suffered a pretty major back injury and had been through an epidural injection and several months of physical therapy. Those treatments had helped but had not given me 100% relief from pain. My physical therapist recommended acupuncture. Let's be clear about one thing… I despise needles, and I was skeptical. But, I wanted relief, so I went and I'm so thankful I did. I learned so much about myself and the human body in general, it was amazing. It had me second guessing my career choice, I was all in and wanted to learn as much as I could about the practice. What I didn't know is how much it would teach me about my actual profession, and the place and people that I work with!
The theory behind acupuncture is that an illness or ailment is presented in the body when it experiences an imbalance in energy between its emotional, spiritual, mental or physical states. The imbalance is remedied by inserting shallow needles into specific points along the meridians that carry energy throughout the body for a period of 40 minutes per visit. The number of visits is determined by the severity of the issue and the result you are trying to achieve. After the acute symptoms are resolved, ongoing maintenance is recommended in order to keep the body proactively functioning in harmony.
So what does this have to do with organizational culture? Let's take a look.
The four states of the human body are a lot like the four pillars of an organization: Maturity, Mission/Vision, Culture, and Structure. The maturity of the company refers to the length of time it has been in business and how developed it's processes and procedures are. The mission/vision conveys why a company is in business and the values by which it chooses to operate. The culture is the day-to-day hum of an organization, you can feel it as you walk the halls or interact with individuals and teams. And the structure is a deep dive into the org chart and whether or not the firm chooses to interact in a hierarchical nature, a matrix or a more flattened collaborative format. The solid or dotted lines in the org chart and between the other three pillars reflect the meridians in the body. When the energy of the company is not flowing well between those four pillars, the performance of the organization begins to suffer.
While there are many things that could cause an organization, or even just a subset (think line of business, department or team) of an organization to suffer, for the sake of example let's follow a few through a treatment plan.
So how do we get back to an organization with positive, proactive energy coursing through the meridians to and throughout the four pillars? Take a look at the checklist below to see if your firm, department or team is falling short in any one of these areas.
It's a lot, I know. But you'll get there just like I did after 12 weeks of physical therapy and 16 weeks of acupuncture. Examine where you are, develop a roadmap of where you want to go, and outline the plan you'll take to get there. Make sure to refine it along the way as the business evolves, and you learn from mistakes. Need some help? We'd be happy to guide you, just reach out to us here!
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