When James Cameron, world famous movie director, was starting the revolutionary AVATAR movie project he had t–shirts made up for his crew, with the words: Hope is not a strategy. James Cameron is known for being particularly meticulous in his leadership style, he has a plan A, a plan B, and a plan C, and “expects to be on Plan C by his second cup of coffee.” It is for this reason that he has been asked to give lectures to NASA and the US Navy about how to manage complex and dangerous projects where devastating changes can happen in an instant.
So much seems to be written about culture, and its importance, and the role leaders play in creating it. And yet in my personal experience CEO’s and CHRO’s don’t spend nearly enough time and energy on the subject. And of course whether you actively manage it or not, every organisation has one or more cultures ( large organisations often have subsets of culture within).
The second, and arguably most important half, lies in building and maintaining a highly-effective team.
In her pioneering work in 1999, Amy Edmondson identified the concept of Psychological Safety - a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. She discovered that the best-functioning teams are the ones where people feel safe to speak up - to make mistakes, to own up, to share ideas and offer opinions. Since then, organisations such as Google have done their own studies whose findings support this, showing that this one factor could make the biggest difference in how a team and an organisation performs.