Expose yourself, be the Snowflake, not the Snow

Change is a constant. Day gives way to night. Winter gives way to Spring and just as certainly the combinations that produce value in and for your organization will change too.  The nature of how labor and capital flow impact your costs and create interdependence between firms. Similarly you may share customers’ physical locations, experiences and needs.

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Complexity of the wider system doesn’t necessarily have to complicate your actions to earn the respect and loyalty of your customers.

Focus on distinguishing what makes you,  YOU.

Atmospheric and physical conditions  impact everyone and everything at once, but not in the same way. Natural conditions interact with water molecules to make snowflakes unique.  Similar conditions beyond your control and ever-present in the wider environment affect elements inside your organization  make it unique too.  How are you taking advantage of these effects? It’s pointless to ignore them, better to embrace them.

How?

Nature loves structure. Snowflakes are six pointed , yet each one remains distinct.  Your organization’s structure and  assigned titles, roles and responsibilities may mimic other organizations without replicating its capabilities and core competencies. 

People naturally form relationships and in turn social networks emerge as a structure too. Rarely do the form of the networks and the behavior of participants align with an organizations’ structure and process flow. Where do your employees turn when they need help performing a task? To whom do they share their triumphs, frustrations and Know-how? How does your organization benefit from their experience? and is the feeling mutual?

Resiliency and sustainability require an overt combination of committed leadership, environmental support structures and natural, effective and efficient processes that motivate as well as develop talent. 

Saying or Living your calling?

Every organization has its principles, its raison d’etre–the reasons it exists. Living up to the mission statement requires consistency as well as persistence to stay true to your aspirations. Do you offer employees a great reason to be in and with you? We suggest these 6 points

1. Appeal to winning ideals, make the prize clear and winnable only when everyone contributes. 

2. Establish procedures that mimic people’s natural, social behaviors to promote a culture capable of winning.This isn’t about bringing Facebook into your environment but incorporating the sequence of both visible and less obvious attributes of people’s experience in solving similar problems.

3. Optimize for diverse skills, aptitudes to promote specific capabilities but hold them accountable for connecting, sharing and achieving larger ideals. [Don’t overlook what a Russell Wilson brings because you are fixated by qualifications that match Peyton Manning, the most recent lesson to hit the NFL.

4. Invest in the design of your environment to foster casual interactions and connections and values contributions from everyone.

5. Leverage systems– process and procedures,  automatically capture knowledge and make sharing and communication tasks simple. Free people from tasks easily mechanized and increase their ability to focus on critical tasks and give everyone working space and time to tinker with new ideas. Don’t expect direct returns from the communal creativity. Unless you set up an appropriate capture, sharing and locator system for information as it’s produced, then these creative expeditions can prove beneficial and fruitful to someone in the future.

6. Framestretch, never rely solely on existing assumptions and immediate perceptions.  Sometimes intuition needs a helping hand, “an assist” to adjust the focal length of your problem lens, and its point of view.  

Organizations that leverage these realities gain measurable advantage.

Surface the qualities that make you distinctive and expose them. Look to understand and collect these qualities that also motivate employees  and build on those that align with your mission. Celebrate the winning qualities and prizing individuality together make your snowflakes stand out.

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