I've been interviewed a lot lately! Happily, they've all focused on the topics I love sharing about: my new book, Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, the challenges women and minorities face in the workplace, Blue Ocean Strategy, female entrepreneurs, the Simon Initiative, culture change, and of course, anthropology. So is there an underlying theme to these articles, which I share below? Yes. I would have to say that it is time to make change your friend. We've been through a pandemic. Millions have lost their jobs and businesses and are now trying to imagine what's next. Women are fed up with bumping into old myths that tell them what they can and can't do. New markets are being opened up by clever entrepreneurs looking for unmet needs. In short, change is all around us, and it's not slowing down. Time to embrace it, not flee from it!
I was recently a guest speaker on the Entrepreneur MBA podcast with Stephen Halasnik, and what we talked about was really significant. Yes, we discussed my new book, Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, but we also delved into how the old ways of viewing gender and diversity are changing, not just for today but for generations to come. Stephen asked some great questions about the challenges women and minorities face in the workplace, and what businesses must do to change that negative environment so that inclusion becomes more than just a momentary catchphrase. I include below the press release about our podcast. To listen to our conversation, click here. My hope is that discussions like these will cause us all to think about what we can do to make workplaces, and society at large, less ex-clusive and more in-clusive. Enjoy.
To err is human!
As we have all experienced (sometimes painfully), mistakes are an essential part of life. They're how we learn and grow and accomplish things.
Consider this: When toddlers are learning to walk, they stand, take a step and fall down. Then they get back up and try again, and again. Before long, they've mastered control of their bodies and they're off, rarely crawling again. This is also how we learn mastery as adults—we try something, fail, learn from it and try again. Just like little kids, this is how we grow.
The Mistake-Learn-Grow Relationship Stays With Us Throughout Our Lives.
Everyone makes mistakes, every single one of us. There's a big difference, however, between those who can learn from their mistakes and those who can't. I would even offer that the secret to success is knowing how to treat mistakes as a foundation for future achievements. The sooner you learn to capitalize upon, rather than avoid, your mistakes, the sooner you'll grasp the crucial knowledge that can be gained from them. Then you can move on to new decisions, and probably new mistakes, which is also at the heart of the fast-growing concept fast failure.
I have had so many requests for help using the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument, the OCAI, that it seemed timely to tell you more about this great method and tool for evaluating your culture today and what you would like it to become in the future (www.ocai-online.com).
A business, by definition, needs to be in a constant state of motion. If you want to grow and succeed in the market, you need to always be moving forward. The same can be said for organizational culture. In both cases, change is the driving force that can help your organization reach its goals and fulfill your ambitions.
Why is corporate culture important?
Understanding organizational culture is hard, and changing it is even harder. But it is the essence of what your organization is all about. In order to implement meaningful change inside your business, you will have to look inward and evaluate your current culture. Only then is it possible to determine where you want to go from there and create a strategy that can help you reach your destination.
Fortunately, recent developments in understanding and improving organizational culture have created new methods that can help you achieve change. One such method is the OCAI and here is how you can use it to implement change in your organization.
When was the last time you looked at your business with fresh eyes? Maybe it is ready for some significant changes? How would you know? How would you make them happen? As we often tell our clients "If you want to change, have a crisis or create one." If not, very little gets done. But the pressures to change are accelerating. People really hate to change. What to do?
Anthropologists seem convinced that no one wants to hire them. With very low unemployment and almost 6 million jobs going unfilled in the U.S. today, shouldn’t highly-skilled, well-trained and capable anthropologists be able to find work of some kind that’s related to their education and interests?
Did you know that in Iceland, it's the law that men and women must earn the same pay? That's right. Iceland just announced (the first country in the world to do so) that public and private companies must pay men and women in the same positions equally or pay a fine. Wow, what if that could happen here in the U.S.!
As a corporate anthropologist and culture change expert, I thought this warranted a closer look. I started digging into the subject and what I've found is that not only is pay parity timely and necessary and the right thing to do, it's also good for business.
I was asked recently by American Express OPEN Forum for my input in this area, along with several other CEOs and business founders. (Read the article here) Interestingly, we all expressed the same belief: that equal pay is important to the health of a business. Consider these eight points, discussed in the AmEx article:
When I started writing this blog, I was interested in how schools use anthropology and its observational research methods. I wasn't curious about how schools were teaching anthropology, but how they applied its theory, methods and tools to help address the significant issues of climate and cultural changes. As I scanned the research trying to find how anthropologists help schools change, grow and improve, I came to the realization that anthropologists are not being used to help schools. But quite frankly, they should be!
So how can anthropologists help our schools?
As many of you know, I love talking about anthropology—specifically, how corporate leaders can apply its tools and methodology to bring about culture change, greater success and bigger profits. But, change is hard. In many cases, change is literally pain. The brain actually fights it, which is why real, lasting change is so difficult to come by. As a culture change expert, I see this all the time with clients. But the good news is that yes, change can happen! And with a little guidance, you can actually make it stick. Yes, indeed you can drive change.
In my recent interview with Thomas Fox, these concepts are exactly what we talked about—anthropology and culture change and how each influences the other. As I explained to him, in a corporate setting, leaders espouse values, beliefs and expectations so people know what to do and how to get it done. Everything is fine until something begins to change and then that culture must change, too.
But knowing how to "do" culture change can be tricky. To help businesses achieve success, I offered the following six steps (abbreviated here):
6 steps for achieving successful culture change
Now that “On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights,” my award-winning book on how corporate anthropology can help businesses grow, is being read by CEOS, business leaders, entrepreneurs and even anthropology students, I'm frequently being asked, "What is this thing called 'anthropology' or 'business anthropology' and why should I know about it, much less use it to help grow my business?"
In addition, I cannot tell you how many parents have contacted me about their son or daughter who is in love with business anthropology in college or with just anthropology itself. What kind of jobs are out there for an anthropology major?, they want to know. As an anthropologist myself, what I don't want to tell them is that only a few years ago, Forbes and Kiplinger ranked anthropology as the worst major for finding a job after college.
Maybe it is time to change that!
There is now a very big role for anthropology and anthropologists in business.
Given the business trends I am seeing as I travel around the country working with clients or leading workshops, I am convinced that now is the time to make anthropology less academic and more easily understood and applicable, particularly in the business world. Indeed, the tools and methods of anthropology are what can help your business or organization sustain growth during these rapidly changing times.