Autocratic culture

Collective aura – Part 1: Legacy of autocratic culture

Autocratic culture seems to float like a collective aura around the individuals who make up the organization.

The capacity to receive, to renew oneself is the great absence of an autocratic organization. Teams trained to perform are weak in the face of change and ask for help without opening up to other organizational concepts.

I will illustrate the ability to receive by 2 examples of accompaniments. The first illustrates a group behavior of “knowing”. The second illustrates a team behavior with “a deep-flush.

Autocratic culture: definition

Autocratic culture has its source in the management of the same name. The company is forged with the power of the wrist, management decides and everyone executes. The tasks are understood and the organization well-oiled. The challenge is difficult.

The teams are hard-working, care about a job well done and are proud of their know-how and of what is achieved. Belonging to the company is strong. In the dynamic spiral, group membership is powerful. Competition is a struggle. The organization is red, see blue.

Spirale dynamique, Spiral dynamics

Autocratic culture: the knowing and the others

In my article “do not get coached, your organization is just perfect!”, written after 4 weeks of coaching in a particularly challenging company, I put forward a form of denial. Denial inviting each member of the team to express, to show me how perfect it was. Their group organization was perfect, both in the way of organizing things and in the interpretation of the mirrors that I submitted to them. They justified each of their actions to show me how much they had reasons.

I have never worked so hard on me, with this team and I have learned a lot. Every attempt to pass on an apprenticeship or a mirror has failed. It reminded me how much I was useless.

And yet, within the organization, from a managerial point of view:

  • the team was formed, and delivered first results
  • the team is even federated …

… in opposition to me, to the interference of a third party in their way of functioning.

To this opposition, I will give the name of superiority complex.

The coaching has taken place and, it will come out for this team probably more solidarity … and especially a desire to show how they are perfect! They found their C.I.D.s

1- Courage: the courage to oppose an apprenticeship that they did not understand.

2- Intuition: the intuition that with this “agile coach” it had to show a form of Agility and find allies to demonstrate together that they are Agile without any outside help.

3-Challenge: Challenge anyone to question them on their ability to do. With this challenge, I am sure, they will do great things.

4- common sense: the “opposition” solidarity that emerges, still chaotic, is the cement of this group. I do not see their vision. But the strong group of his agility, takes in hand things and generate a result.

So in this story, the ability to receive has three faces:

  • mine, that of swallowing my pride of “know-it-all”: I am certified!

– that of the team to adapt to move in the direction desired by the organization. “to be agile, we will be, you will see!”

– that of the organization to recognize that catalysis has taken place.

Beyond these 3 faces, the faculty that seems to me to emerge is the ability to be aware of the acting game that has just unfolded. And where each of us, can review the past scenes and say “I learned …”.

As I write these lines, the team also write … emails to show how much the transmitted elements allow them to say that they are doing as well, as they have already done, without Agile coach . And from these elements transmitted, I received my first thanks. Thank you for allowing them to compare themselves, and to tell everyone how well organized they are. They have even reinforced the importance of the workshops themselves where people move, focus on a theme and especially mobilize … they were already leading these practices without having the systematic side provided by the first value of the Agile Manifesto: to promote interactions between individuals.

Do not doubt about it, the transformation is under way for this company. It will federate by opposition perhaps, but a collective is mobilized against the catalysts. The catalysts will have to maintain their transformative strength, despite the adversity, continue to mobilize and believe in a fundamental change in the link to work. This point will be detailed in part 2 of the article Collective Aura.

In this case, the coach and even more broadly the part of the organization hosting the coaching.

Open autocratic culture

The second case that I would like to share with you, offers an appetite for exchange and bases these hopes in the ability of the group to wake up, to transform to make a day to day livable that is no longer.

If the first example confronts me with a complex of superiority, the second caresses me in the direction of the hair. The group learns quickly, very quickly. It performs fascinating intellectual feats. In an hour and a half of workshop, a result and a retrospective are built and seem to lay the foundations of a collective future. Everything seems integrated even if the deep respect of the members between them intrigues me.

With this group, I alternate coaching in face-to-face and distance learning. The remote part appeals to me even more. During a virtual workshop, I see again with the team the main achievements obtained during the face-to-face workshop. I revisit the backlog-vivier in actions. And there, the remote group does not look anything like the group face-to-face. I do not have the same group. At the time of transcribing the learning and to embark them in the daily life, the group is immobile, shot down, without spring …and loses all vivacity shown during face-to-face workshops … This concerns me and suddenly, I have the impression to mobilize the time and the speech during distance workshops. Besides, I even hear a member of the team tell me that I monopolized the speech for 45 minutes. Iwill know the week after that it was actually him he was talking about.

But at this moment, this questioning reminds me of my role as coach. I do not teach and do not try to convince. It is up to the team to pull themselves together and make their own transformation. It is true, the border of an Agile coach is not always easy, because we are often invited by companies to be in turn trainer, consultant, facilitator, cuddly and … coach. It is up to us to play our role as closely as possible to the needs of the group and its context.

So, I suggest the team to take an example in their daily lives and redo the exercise in time constrained one hour and thirty minutes, to find out if the chance of the workshop has given exceptional results, that are not reproducible. Yes, exactly, the method was profitable to them. I also take the opportunity to disengage myself from the remote animation, asking them to animate the next virtual meeting.

This situation jostled me because I felt that my conviction was not shared. The beauty of the group, fluid, complementary that I felt, the team did not see it. And worse, where I found a performance and a team dynamic, they saw a routine. I was in deep trouble.

During the retrospective, on their working session in the conditions of the workshop we did face-to-face, they confirmed me a fed up. Not about what we did together, but their inability to project what we do together in the long run. Trapped in a daily life that they have been fed up with but which is today their reality, they choke. Their fluid relationship does not exist on a daily basis, buried deep beneath a carapace …

So if in the first case, I ran into a complex of superiority. Here, I ran into a fed-up of everyday life, making automatic gestures.

Here again in this story, the capacity to receive will take three faces:

– that of the group to express their feelings and to hear those of others

– my ability to hear and deepen weak signals

– and, that of the organization to implement with the coach, the changes in the long-term and facilitate, accompany the team of managers to the implementation of a transformation plan.

In these two examples, each group shows a collective face and makes visible an organizational systemic. This systemic being tinged each time with emotion, I will call it a collective aura.

The collective aura

Atmosphere that surrounds or seems to surround a being. This definition is plural here. This aura is carried by a group. It is “this aura” that for me releases the energy needed to initiate and achieve a profound transformation of an organization. In the 4 levers for successful business transformation, I introduce the concept of C.I.D.s (Courage-Intention-Challenge-common sense).

For this ideal common sense, I will speak here of collective aura, which arises from the association of each individual. This collective aura, like the note written on a sheet of music, goes either:

1- naturally. Example: you are among “friends”, the discussion is fluid, the Confrontation positive. You enjoy being together. Your gestures match, the smiles multiply. You go together for a trip or a party.

2-is reproduced. Example: under the leadership of a leader, in the sense of accompanying change. Reproducing spontaneous chords has been the subject of study and methods, of which Neuro Linguistic Programming is probably the best known.

The objective of the leader, of strategic management, is to align energies with a vision of the future, the manager then leads and guides the team as close as possible to the objective. The system allows the leader, the manager and the team to interact in a common framework. On this topic, I invite you to read the article by J.L. Mosempés “Management, Leadership, and PNL”

The collective aura will be the intangible ingredient allowing the C.I.D.s to grow and go beyond the boundaries of the group to share evidence, which will then be relayed by other groups and individuals. This evidence will then take the form of a deeper and stronger teaching. The energy thus released will carry an audible sense to more and more people. The idea will be relayed further and further, more and more quickly giving a force of transformation to what was a concept at the beginning.

The Collective Aura, an atmosphere that surrounds a group-part 2