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The Ascending Leader – Enemy 3: Misreading Culture Cues

Enemy 3: Misreading Culture Cues

It seems to happen every winter.  Who else has had this happen?  It’s the day of the big game and the sun is shining.  You leave the house dressed warmly enough…or, so you think.  Nothing is worse than coming unprepared to watch a football game when it is 30 degrees outside, to be in an environment without a coat on is kind of like being in a culture unprepared.

In our last entry we learned about Enemy 2 and how we must resist Yielding to the Chaos.  We now know that it is critical for a leader to avoid being mired in the daily pressures.  Instead, the new leader needs to take time to assess the needs of the business and allow essential time for learning before leading.  Moving forward, this week’s installment examines Enemy 3 of the “Seven Enemies of Success for Newly Promoted Leaders”.

Enemy #3: Misreading Culture Cues

Whether you have been hired to build upon success, or to lead change, learning about the culture is key. A leader can miss essential culture cues that affect ultimate success or failure by underestimating the importance of understanding and adapting to the culture before trying to lead change in a significant way.

What’s more, with this enemy we gain perhaps the most important insight since this is the enemy that is most likely to cause failure.  So why is this the most important enemy to avoid?  The simple answer is because people will reject a leader that does not adapt successfully to fit in, which causes a leader to disconnect in most cases.

Understand, Adapt, and Stay Connected

To master culture cues it is best to understand the culture first, then seek to lead desired change – with others providing input and getting on board along the way.

Mary was transferred to the Michigan Region after several years in executive positions at the corporate headquarters. As the new President of the Western Michigan market, Mary took on the role with great expectations and little time to acclimate as an internal leader. Even though Mary was familiar with the regional structure and even some of the customers, she realized quickly she would still need to understand the history, business environment, context of the market place, the existing team, challenges, and growth opportunities.

Assessing Culture Quickly

Whether you are newly promoted and/or new to the organization, the Quick Culture Assessment will help you assess, learn and adapt to the current culture of the organization. This will provide you with the foundation to lead the culture in a positive way (while honoring and preserving what works) to achieve higher performance and sustained results.

Putting to work the Quick Culture Assessment tool in The Ascending Leader, Mary was able to consider all elements associated with successfully adapting to and potentially changing the culture in a positive way. This encompassed observable and non-observable elements including completing the Leader Success Inventory we learned about in the previous entry.

To read more about the Seven Enemies of Success order your copy today!

Next entry: Enemy 4: Misfiring with Your Manager


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