10 months ago, at the very beginning of Anekanta’s development, we posted a link to this article on the Anekanta Consulting Linked In feed.

We are posting it again to stress that it has never been more important than it is now, for business leaders and owners to visibly lead by example.

In the Mckinsey piece, an inspirational story is told about the use of an iconic symbol to remind leaders to change their behaviours and raise the difficult subjects. Only through acceptance of the problem and discussion to find solutions, could change actually happen.

Why did a leading global agriculture player order small rubber elephants adorned with the company’s logo for its meeting rooms? Far from being mere props, these elephants were symbols to facilitate desired behavior shifts in employees.

Symbolic actions are most successful when employees connect the dots between the act and the broader change message, facilitating both a mindset and behavioral shift. For example, employees at the agriculture company were initially confused when they discovered the rubber elephants. But their confusion subsided when they saw leaders pick them up and put them on the table as they raised difficult topics others might have felt uncomfortable surfacing. The practice was eventually adopted by other employees when they too needed to call out the elephant in the room.

We also found that nearly 50 percent of employees cite the CEO’s visible engagement and commitment to transformation as the most effective action for engaging frontline employees.

July 29, 2019 – Mckinsey & Company

Business leaders, being the CEOs and Owners, hold a great responsibility. The people in their organisations are often influenced by their behaviour, enourage others to behave in that way, and are also likely to carry these behaviours through into their personal lives.

In a society where strong values seem to be running on empty, where do people find a blueprint for good behaviour?. Some would argue that there are global leaders who have taken society backwards due to their poor visible leadership. But not all leaders encourage the wrong behaviour. Look to the leaders who have shown through their actions, that strong visible leadership, compassion and inclusivity build a better work place and society for all.

This is a call to leaders to step up and lead change by showing their people the right way.

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-organization-blog/elephant-in-the-room-making-a-culture-transformation-stick-with-symbolic-actions

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