I was recently sent the Smell of the Place, an 8 minute and 13 second video of Professor Sumantra Ghoshal at the World Economic Forum. I found it very easy to digest and insightful – full of ideas that can enhance your culture. In his speech, he addresses corporate environments and the faults of management in creating a positive culture. Here is what you need to know…
It’s not about changing the person, it’s about changing the environment.
Ghoshal starts his videos with the understanding that people don’t change (unless they have some sort of traumatic event). Instead of focusing on changing the person, focus on creating an environment that inspires change. As he would say, “the context, the smell of the place.” And make sure that "smell" is unique.
Don’t be a common "smell."
The common “smells” most companies have are constraint, compliance, control, and contract. They induce a negative environment that stunts employee’s creativity and success. Prof. Ghoshal challenges the audience by asking, “Where are you going to get behaviors that initiate change under these common contexts?” I must say, I agree. You aren’t going to get behaviors that initiate change unless you have healthy smells.
Create healthy smells to create a positive culture.
Here are the four healthy “smells” Prof. Ghoshal speaks about to create a great company culture and context.
- Stretch: create an environment where an employee is always striving to do more.
- Discipline: this is self-discipline – not compliance. Agree with each other or agree to disagree, but commit to agreement.
- Trust: develop trust between co-workers.
- Support: have an environment that allows employees to know that management and co-workers are here to help me win.
What kind of smell do you have? More importantly, what kind of smell do your employees think you have? Find out for free.