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            [post_title] => 5 Priorities for Becoming a More Strategic People Manager
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Touching back on my last blog I mentioned that culture needs to become a strategic business priority (like sales, profit, etc.) and not just a HR priority.

boat with leader Source: www.clubsolutionsmagazine.com

Leadership teams can start the creation of high performance cultures by implementing the following 6 steps:

1. Establish a sense of urgency

They need to make it clear that the current culture needs to change, articulate the vision and business case, and describe the opportunity (as John P. Kotter states in his book The 8-Step Process for Leading Change) in a way that appeals to the hearts and minds of people.

2. Develop a set of strategic beliefs

These are the beliefs senior executives have about their organisation’s environment that enables shaping business strategy e.g. Dell believed that customers would, if the price was right, buy computers from a catalogue rather than go to computer stores as the conventional wisdom dictated they would. They created a $7 billion business.

3. Develop a set of values

Values enable the organisation to act on its strategic beliefs and implement their strategy the right way. Values shape the culture of an organisation, define its character and serve as a foundation in how people act and make decisions. Dell’s values supporting its strategy and strategic beliefs include: Delivering results that make a positive difference; leading with openness and optimism and winning with integrity.

4. Capitalise on quick wins

Capitalize on and honour your cultural strengths and act quickly on any critical behaviour changes required.

5. Challenge those norms that get on the way of high performance

Norms are informal guidelines about what is considered normal (what is correct or incorrect) behaviour in a particular situation. Peer pressure to conform to team norms is a powerful influencer on people’s behaviour, and it is often a major barrier affecting change. It is always easier to go along with the norm than trying to change it…. Common samples of negative norms in some organisations: Perception that it is ok to yell at people, ignore people’s opinions, etc.

6. Role model and recognise the desired behaviours

As Gandhi wonderfully put it “Be the change you want to see in the world”. This empowers action and helps embed the desired culture you are trying to create. Behaviour is a function of its consequences. Behaviour that results in pleasant consequences is more likely to be repeated, and behaviour that results in unpleasant consequences is less likely to be repeated. According to B. F. Skinner and reinforcement theory “future behavioural choices are affected by the consequences of earlier behaviours”. The argument is clear; if you want people to be brave and challenge the status quo, you shouldn’t make them feel awkward or like difficult employees when they do. Furthermore, if want people to contribute at meetings make sure you actively listen to them and act on their suggestions and ideas.


On his famous article “On the folly of rewarding A while hoping for B” Steven Kerr argues that the way in which we reward and recognise people doesn’t always deliver the desired results. We all have being in situations where we are told to plan for long-term growth yet we are rewarded purely on quarterly earnings; we are asked to be a team player and are rewarded solely on our individual efforts; we are told that the way in which results are achieved is important and yet we promote people who achieve results the wrong / in a Machiavellian way. A friend of mine was recently at a hospital and he complained to the ward manager about the doctor’s bad manners and rudeness. The answer he got was “do you want to be treated by the best heart doctor in the country or a not so good doctor but with a really nice bed manner?”.

My argument is why can’t we have both?

Pedro Angulo is the Programme Director of the IMI Diploma in Strategic HR Management starting on 16th November 2016. Pedro is an Organisational Effectiveness Business Partner in AIB and Chairperson of the Irish EMCC (European Mentoring and Coaching Council). He is a motivational speaker and regular presenter at HR, coaching, change and business conferences / events. _____________________________________ [post_title] => 6 Steps to start the creation of high performance cultures [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 6-strategies-start-creation-high-performance-cultures [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 19:48:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 19:48:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=12562 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )


22nd Jun 2023

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5 Priorities for Becoming a More Strategic People Manager
6 Steps to start the creation of high performance cultures

Webinar Insights: Building Innovative Human-Centric Teams with Jay Chopra

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, leaders are faced with a pressing need for new ways of thinking and innovative solutions. During a recent IMI Membership webinar, Jay Chopra shared insights into the crucial role of creativity in driving business success.  

Jay highlighted that creativity is not an inherent trait; rather, it is a skill that can be learned and developed. By unravelling the creative thinking process and understanding its practical application, teams can effectively solve complex business problems and generate ideas with significant commercial value. To embark on this journey, it is vital to embrace and practice six key creative behaviours: indicating, trusting, sparking, fuelling, playfulness, and courage. In the webinar, we delved into a few of these behaviours, and how you can model them in your organisation.  

Overcoming Idea Killers 

During brainstorming sessions and meetings, it is all too common to encounter idea killers—phrases that hinder the free flow of creativity, such as “It won’t work,” “We’ve tried that before,” or “We don’t have time.” These expressions can stifle innovation and prevent the exploration of groundbreaking ideas. It’s important to overcome this negativity bias by allowing ideas to develop fully before passing judgement. In a similar fashion to nurturing a seedling until it blossoms, ideas require time and nurturing to reach their full potential. This process, known as “fuelling,” involves thoroughly exploring and developing ideas before evaluating their feasibility. 

To foster creative thinking, it is crucial to encourage teams to explore ideas that lie outside the realms of conventional thinking. There’s a quick exercise that you can do to help illustrate how we can go about exploring creative ideas in this way. Imagine a brainstorming session aimed at increasing revenue for an airline, where someone suggests placing seats on the wings of a plane. Rather than immediately dismissing this seemingly outlandish idea, it is essential to consider its positive aspects. By identifying the underlying positive concepts, teams can then explore alternative paths to achieve those desired outcomes without embracing the initial unconventional idea. This approach encourages innovative thinking and unlocks a wealth of possibilities. 

Einstein said that problems cannot be solved within the same framework in which they were created. To foster innovation, Jay Chopra we need to break free from habitual thought processes. There are a number of ways that you can incorporate creativity-enhancing techniques into brainstorming sessions, for example by creativity tools, bringing physical objects into the discussion, taking walks outside, or even having lunch with different individuals every day. By intentionally introducing novel elements into the thinking process, teams can develop fresh neural pathways and unlock new levels of creativity. 

The Wildest Idea Tool 

One powerful tool that can be used to facilitate paradigm shifts in thinking is the Wildest Idea Tool. This tool encourages teams to engage in a game-like activity where the objective is to generate the wildest ideas imaginable. By stimulating friendly competition and challenging one another to surpass boundaries, participants stretch their imagination and unlock innovative solutions. After generating a pool of wild ideas, the team can extract the key concepts embedded within them and explore alternative paths to achieve those concepts. This process not only fuels creative thinking but also enables the development of groundbreaking ideas. 

Traditional brainstorming sessions often result in fragmented thoughts that lack clarity and tangibility, and using a template like the Idea Developer is a good way to flesh out ideas. This structured template replaces scattered ideas with a comprehensive framework. By answering essential questions about the main features, customer appeal, and the core DNA of the idea, teams can articulate and communicate their concepts more effectively. Furthermore, visually representing ideas through drawings or diagrams enhances comprehension and fosters collaborative discussions. 

The Power of Expansive and Reductive Thinking 

There are two main types of thinking which need to be considered when generating new ideas – expansive thinking and reductive thinking. The problem is, these two mix like oil and water, so it’s important to indicate which type of thinking is required when. Expansive thinking, reminiscent of the uninhibited creativity of children, fuels the generation of novel ideas. On the other hand, reductive thinking, characterised by logic and practicality, refines and evaluates those ideas. A balance between these two modes of thinking enables teams to navigate the creative process effectively, leading to innovative and feasible solutions. 

In a world where innovation and adaptability are crucial for business success, cultivating creativity within teams has become paramount for business leaders. By embracing creative behaviours, overcoming idea killers, exploring beyond conventional thinking, and incorporating tools such as the Wildest Idea Tool and the Idea Developer template, business leaders can foster a culture of creativity and drive their teams towards groundbreaking solutions. By combining expansive and reductive thinking, teams can confidently navigate the challenges of today’s business landscape and propel their organisations to new heights of success. 


IMI Corporate Members have access to webinars and in-person thought leadership events throughout the year. Find out more about Corporate Membership here