What’s The Climate of Your Organization?

In this issue:

What’s the Climate of Your Organization?

I always find it fascinating when I first come in contact with an organization, whether a small company, large business, or non-profit. What does the entrance to the company look and feel like, who I’m greeted by as I enter and how I’m greeted. Then, as I enter, is there a sense of urgency or a feeling of being relaxed, an environment of order or of chaos, of enjoyment or strain? I, as well as others, notice and are influenced by “small” things.

Here are five questions that I find extremely valuable to ask about the climate of your organization:

1. What’s the climate like in your organization? Every organization has a climate; whether you are a one-person organization or a 10,000-person company, there is a climate. You may be very aware of it, or not so aware of it, but a climate exists. Of course it may change and not everyone would define it exactly the same. This is an important question to ask regularly – What’s the climate?

I’m reminded of a story I tell in my book, LESS, about walking into a company and perceiving the atmosphere or climate much like a fish tank whose water has gotten dirty and needs to be cleaned; yet no one seems to have noticed. I ask the CEO if he considered cleaning the water.

2. What do you want the climate to be? What is your vision of an effective organizational climate? Do you emphasize an atmosphere of urgency, of freedom, or of accountability? How does that look in terms of decision-making, of hiring, and in collaborating? What are the values that guide your organization?

3. What are the gaps between what you want the climate to be and what it is?

4. How does the climate effect the people in your workplace? Regardless of how aware we are, the climate or atmosphere, almost by definition, effects everyone almost all the time. Some people may find ways to work outside the climate, but this takes a good deal of energy.

5. How do your words and actions influence the climate? How does what you don’t do and don’t say influence the climate? Many people are aware of how what they do effects the climate. Much more subtle, and sometimes more powerful, is how what they don’t do effects the climate.

Here is an idea you may want to experiment with. Write down your perception of what the climate is like at your workplace. Then, ask two or three other people how they would describe the climate. Use this as the starting point for defining what kind of climate would be most effective.

With best regards,


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Wednesday Night Sitting Group

Wednesday night meditation group in Mill Valley — This Wednesday, February 17th, Marsha Angus will be leading the group. The group meets every Wednesday night in Mill Valley from 6:45 – 8:30 p.m. No experience is necessary. The event is free; a donation is appreciated.

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We Are All Made of Stardust

Here is a short piece I wrote, recently pubished in the Huffington Post: We Are All Made Of Stardust

Accomplishing More by Doing Less

Antidotes to busyness, and tools and practices for living a more calm, meaningful, and productive life.

“I hope that doing less will enable you to determine, each day, what your true productivity and contribution can be.”

“We need to learn how to turn each day into an opportunity not only for sustained productivity but for composure and enjoyment, which can actually lead to more sustained productivity.”

– excerpts from Less

To order LESS on Amazon, click here

Sweden – Oredev Conference

In November 2009 I gave the  Keynote Talk at the Oredev Conference in Malmo, Sweden. The theme for the Conference, the largest software developers conference in Europe, was Efficiency: Doing More With Less.

Movie and Book Review

I recommend seeing a powerful 2005 movie called Live and Become, about a young Ethiopian boy sent to Israel by his mother, with her hope of saving his life. Her parting words to him are “go, live, and become.” Here is a review from the New York Times..

I’ve been enjoying reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink. The book makes the case that we are motivated by Autonomy, Mastery, and Meaning, to a far greater extent than our motivation by money or other external rewards.

Executive Coaching and Outsourced Talent Management

Call on ZBA Associates LLC for your Executive Coaching, teambuilding needs, for keynote presentations, or to facilitate your offsite retreat. We help business leaders redefine and achieve success by integrating leadership and communication skills with mindfulness practices. 415 389-6228; mlesser@zbaassociates.com

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