Invisible Architecture™ is the Key to Leadership

Think of all the money spent on designing office buildings, moving cubicles around, consolidating locations. Capital expenditures take a big budget chunk. But what if you literally had the cart before the horse. What if you’re moving people, materials, and merchandise but have forgotten to move what really matters: the human spirit—invisible to the human eye but deeply experienced in relationships, customer outcomes, and performance. Before you laugh and think this sounds too “soft”- let me tell you about an incredible presenter/thinker/scholar/and guru in the health care industry and beyond: Joe Tye. I read one of Joe’s books, The Florence Prescription, From Accountability to Ownership in preparation for my keynote address to some 1000 operating room managers.  The story resonated with every part of my belief system and consulting practice. As Joe says, “Loyalty is to an organization what gravity is to the earth.” But how does one get loyalty? The answer is invisible: shared values. Values influence behavior and behavior influences outcomes. If employees don't value the same thing then negativity, distrust, and poor performance can be the result. Joe is the original values coach. He and his team have transformed numerous organizations by creating a contagious spark of shared values: values like integrity, courage, respect, perseverance, just to name a few. And yes, values can be taught. I had the wonderful opportunity of watching Joe begin to teach these concepts to operating room managers. They nodded their heads in agreement when he talked about lack of courage in confronting negative behavior in a surgical setting. They stood and told of their own story about employees who said “not my job.” Obviously the value of teamwork was not present and ownership was tremendously absent. This is what makes leadership so difficult. Management is left brain, linear, statistical, and logical. Leadership is right brain, creative, empathetic, spontaneous, and inclusive. Easy to say. Much harder to do. We have far too many managers in our organizations and on the political front. I wonder where are the leaders?

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