4 Blind Spots That Could Be Sabotaging Your Culture

Posted by Jenni Catron on Mar 9, 2021 8:15:35 AM

There is no perfect team.

There is no perfect culture.


In fact, every team has dysfunction. The question is, do you know what yours is? There are often things we miss either because we're focused in other directions or because we've simply grown accustomed to the way things are and therefore desensitized to the potential of becoming healthier.


In our work with organizations at all stages and of all sizes, we repeatedly identify four areas where leaders often have blind spots in their organizational culture. What often surprises the leaders we serve is that these culture blind spots are not extravagant employee perks or outrageous office antics, rather the most common culture blind spots are related to your everyday behaviors as a team. 


In fact, most of the things that have the biggest leverage on your team culture are related to how well you manage your relationships and your systems.


The four categories of common Culture Blind Spots are:

1. Clarity of Purpose

2. Organizational Clarity

3. Leadership Development

4. Team Dynamics


The reality is: we can't correct what we can't see, so let’s take a closer look at each of these...


4 Blind Spots That May Be Sabotaging Your Culture

1. Clarity of Purpose

Why do you do what you do?

When was the last time you asked yourself or your team that question? As organizations grow and mature, the mission and vision gets more and more fuzzy. Complexity is the natural drift as organizations grow and teams expand. If you don’t keep the mission, vision and values (If you’re not sure how to articulate the difference between mission, vision and values, check out this resource!) of your organization front and center, your team will lose focus and engagement.

Having a clear purpose is the foundational building block upon which everything else in your organization's culture is built. You have the opportunity to clarify and articulate why you exist and how you move toward your calling. Doing so will provide the plumb line your team needs in order to align and thrive together.

2. Organizational Clarity

Leaders, we are never as clear as we think we are.

Organizational clarity is not just about communication (we’ll get to that later), organizational clarity requires a fierce commitment to making sure our systems and processes provide the clarity and alignment that removes roadblocks and helps our team do their work with minimal avoidable frustration.

Chief among the issues that create this blind spot is a nonexistent or confusing organizational chart. Many senior leaders I talk to get annoyed by the need for an org chart.  You don’t feel the need for an org chart because you likely sit somewhere near the top of it. It’s clear to you and therefore you assume it’s clear for everyone.

It’s also more than the org chart…when people are unsure about how their role supports the vision, when they feel their time is being wasted in ineffective meetings, and when they feel confusion about priorities, they will quickly become disengaged. You have the opportunity to address the systems and processes that can make your hiring, onboarding, meetings, and org chart effective and purposeful. 

3. Leadership Development

Your most important job every day is developing your team.  While the functional work you do is critical, how you lead your team will yield your greatest impact.

For most leaders, development finds its way to the bottom of our priority list day after day, week after week. We have good intentions, but the urgency of other tasks continuously overtakes our investment in people, especially the people we lead.

Development strategies are not limited to books and conferences. Having consistent systems for setting goals, giving and receiving feedback, and processes for growth and professional development will create a culture in which top talent thrives and innovation is the norm.

4. Team Dynamics

Do you trust your team and does your team trust you?

Perhaps this last blind spot is the most critical.

In many ways, this is a bi-product of the other three categories. If you lack purpose, it’s difficult to find common goals and the bonding that takes place in achieving those goals together. If you lack clarity of structure, roles and processes, then your team doesn’t know what to expect and therefore can’t trust decisions. If you lack leadership development, your team may not feel valued and therefore will only commit to the organization to the degree that they feel you and the organization are committed to them.

In his new book Think Again, organizational psychologist Adam Grant shares that “more than a hundred studies have examined conflict types in over eight thousand teams. A meta-analysis of those studies showed that relationship conflict is generally bad for performance.”

Relationships are the core of your team’s health and effectiveness.


Keep leading well!

Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group


Knowing your culture blind spot allows you to specifically address the root causes of the issue in order to build purpose, clarity, development and health into your team.

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Topics: Leadership, Culture, Clarity, Leadership Development, Staff Culture, org chart, Team Culture

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