We Need BRAVE Cultures™ for This Brave New World
Business, as usual, has come to a screeching halt in the past several weeks. First the global pandemic, and then the profound economic crisis, have entire countries reeling. Hopes of a speedy recovery are dying in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. It’s time for BRAVE Cultures™.
It’s time for a new paradigm. BRAVE Cultures™ are the wave of the future. For leaders of companies who want to be thriving in the next ten years and beyond, they can not be complacent with business as usual.
There are four aspects to BRAVE Cultures™. The first is that they are Purpose-driven.
Being Purpose-driven isn’t just a nice thing to do; it’s great for business. Purpose driven companies have outperformed the S&P500 by 14 times over a 15 year period. That’s a 1680% ROI vs. the 118% ROI for the S&P500 (source).
Nevertheless, beyond just profits (although profits are essential), what does your company stand behind? What is it a stand for and against? Merely saying that your company has a Purpose isn’t going to cut it anymore. You can’t just slap a slogan on the wall. Consumers have smartened up. They want proof that you’re living and breathing your values and purpose. Therefore, as millennials gain more clout in the markets, both as consumers and employees, this will become even more important.
Companies with BRAVE Cultures™ operationalize the Purpose and Values of the company. This is evident in the behavior, words, and actions of all employees, from the top all the way down. Walking your talk doesn’t happen without forethought, strategy, and consistent implementation.
The second key to building BRAVE Cultures™ is that they are committed to Conscious Communication.
Conscious Communication is the container inside of which the other three aspects grow and thrive. W
Furthermore, when we talk about Conscious Communication, we focus on three things. Emotional Intelligence, having positive Mindsets, and how to encourage healthy conflict are key. We teach teams how to master healthy conflict by having difficult conversations in real-time. We teach them how to listen deeply and being aware of the stories they’re making up about themselves and others.
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to both manage and be aware of your own emotions. It’s also about understanding and navigating the emotions of others. EQ is the cornerstone of Conscious Communication. Without a certain degree of emotional intelligence, it’s impossible to practice conscious communications.
Positive mindsets are critical to conscious leadership.
Ryan Gottfredson has recently written a book called Success Mindsets that identifies four sets of mindsets. They are: fixed/growth, closed/open, prevention/promotion, and inward/outward. For instance, according to Ryan’s research, CEOs tend to have closed mindsets as compared to any other group of people. Having a closed mindset makes it difficult to hear perspectives that don’t match your own. Having a fixed mindset makes you far less resilient in the face of obstacles and challenges. If you have a prevention mindset, you’ll lose out on opportunities. The inward/outward mindsets are about how selfish you are, or if you care more for others.
When a team develops the skills of Conscious Communication, they are able to create a psychologically safe space. Innovation and equity thrive in psychologically safe environments. Psychological safety is the safety of knowing that all ideas and all people are valued, included and welcomed. It creates a space where processes and tools are in place to offer everyone grace and dignity. Therefore, regardless of what’s happening around us we care for our people first..
Inside of a psychologically safe space like that, you’ll find a BRAVE Culture™.
The third pillar of BRAVE Cultures™ is that they are wildly innovative.
They actively embrace failure. Actively embracing failure is not something that comes naturally to most of us. We were indoctrinated from a young age to believe that failure is a bad thing. To succeed in the future, we must get comfortable being uncomfortable. We must understand that failure is a necessary milestone on the path to success. We have to change the mindset of our teams to embrace short-term ‘failures’. Instead, we have to know that short-term failures pave the way to long-term success.
Most companies know they need to be more innovative. They just don’t know how to cultivate more innovation on their teams. The secret is to cultivate a mindset of failure as a learning tool. According to Inc. Magazine, “while there are lots of factors that go into success and failure, innovation is one of the most important. Innovative businesses are more likely to stick around from year to year.”
The fourth and final pillar of BRAVE Cultures™ is that they are fiercely inclusive.
The most important thing to understand about fierce inclusion is this: it’s not about taking power away from anyone. Instead, it’s about making a bigger pie so that everyone gets a seat at the table. We ALL win when that happens. Fierce inclusivity moves beyond checking a box for gender or ethnicity, although that’s a start. Even at that lower level of diversity, companies reap financial rewards:
- Companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue (source)
- Racially diverse teams out-perform homogeneous teams by 35% (source)
- Teams where there is gender equality present earn 41% more revenue (source)
Just like being Purpose-driven isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good for business, so
The second step is to look at the visible signs of diversity. Hire more women, minorities, older people, and people with disabilities. Then you have to begin to understand that we are steeped in a system of privilege
BRAVE Cultures™ are deliberately developed over time. It takes time to master the arts of Conscious Communication. Communication is what fosters fierce inclusivity and the ability to actively seek out failure for learning and innovation. In addition, they are cultures that are psychologically safe. People feel a strong sense of belonging, and because they are purpose-driven, everyone is united in what really matters. They are the future of work. BRAVE Cultures™ were made for this brave new world we’re facing today.
Johanna Lyman is the Founder and CEO of NextGen Orgs. She is a Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach with over fifteen years of experience in implementing organization wide change strategies for both Fortune 500 companies and Small Businesses.
At NextGen Orgs, they use a combination of unique delivery methods and processes that crack the code on establishing lasting organizational behavior changes in a relatively short period of time. Their proprietary and evolutionary system can eliminate months of frustration often associated with developing strong leadership and building a cohesive, collaborative team.
Johanna is a professional speaker, available to speak on a variety of topics related to culture, communication, innovation, and leadership. She is the Board President for the Bay Area Chapter of Conscious Capitalism and is deeply versed in how to help businesses be a force for good in the world. Learn more at https://nextgenorgs.com and find her on LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/johannalyman