Cultural Transformation Is Everybody’s Business
When I was studying at the U.S. Army’s red teaming school at Fort Leavenworth back in 2015, I was introduced to a powerful concept called “My 15 Percent.”
The idea is simple: Whether you are a general or a private, there are things you can do to improve the performance of your unit, that will improve the performance of your division, and ultimately, the Army as a whole. It was the product of research by organizational psychologists who found that no matter how disenfranchised or powerless people feel – no matter how low they are on the totem pole – they still have the ability to directly influence at least 15 percent of the part of the organization they work in.
So, we were taught, if you don’t like the way things are going, focus on making a positive change your 15 percent.
The same approach works just as well in corporations, according to bestselling business author and executive coach Barry O’Reilly.
“Often people say that we can’t do anything if the leaders won’t let us do it, or somebody else is stopping us, or that team will let us down. But people have way more power than they realize,” he told me, adding that even front-line managers can help their companies make better decisions by changing the way they approach decision making every day.