Being a social organization means being courageous.

Jamie Notter and I explain what organizations might do to become more COURAGEOUS in our book, Humanize: How People-centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World.

Courageous organizations embrace a culture of learning.

  • They go beyond reactive learning and take time to explore issues deeply and challenge assumptions.
  • They have disciplined conversations that dig into learning.
  • They have a deep respect for data and mine it carefully, but they don’t obsess over the data or expect data to provide the answers in an oversimplified way.
  • They don’t run away from failure because they know that’s where the learning is.
  • They document the learning as it happens, and they admit their mistakes.
  • They know learning and change go hand in hand.

Courageous organizations have internal structures and processes that encourage and reward experimentation.

  • They commit to experimentation because they value both learning and innovation.
  • They alter structures where possible to support innovation, whether it is giving more time, changing job descriptions, or enforcing constraints.
  • They use measurement to draw attention to experimentation, and they ensure that the learning gets measured throughout the length of the experiment, not just results at the end.
  • They intentionally create “sandboxes” where people are free to experiment.
  • They extend experimentation outside the walls of the organization, such as through open innovation projects.

In courageous organizations, individual behavior is marked by the drive toward personal development.

  • Today’s complex world needs individuals who develop their thinking throughout their whole lives.
  • Skills and knowledge are necessary, but not sufficient; leaders at every level of the organization need to handle advanced levels of complexity.
  • The line between personal growth and professional growth is blurred.
  • Courageous organizations give people the time to work on their personal development.

We feel strongly that our organizations need to be more human… That’s where you come in.  How courageous is your organization? Take our quick quiz and find out.

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