Most of us in Ontario are familiar with the LCBO campaign justifying clear identification in determining age when buying liquor… but what about Organizational Identity!?
Organizational identity, even when well defined, seems a little trickier in that it is something true and organic for sure but it is not as absolute or undeniably decided by a birth certificate or driver’s license. In the pre-pandemic world we spent a lot of time with organizations in helping them define their identity so that the workspaces that we designed and built would inspire all that enter to understand, embrace and get excited about that identity.
Often as we explored this with our clients it felt, to begin with, like something rather abstract and too easily regarded as a branding exercise in exposure to a market. But while organizational identity is often closely tied to brand, it’s in fact deeper and more about how the organization sees itself. The most commonly referenced definition of organizational identity is that describing it as those central, enduring and distinctive characteristics (“CED”, Albert & Whetten 1985) that, like our birth certificates, identify a unique entity. As an organization, it answers the question “Who are we?”. And these days, we thought it would be a topic most leadership groups and individuals might be struggling with quite naturally with physically distributed workforces.
Organizational Identity is important. It’s about character, personality and values and it is a foundational driver of culture. Organizational culture I heard described wonderfully just recently (briefly paraphrased here) as the behaviour that leads to decision making (Hilton Barbour, LinkedIN) and in organizations as in life, we need to be true to thyself. The anchor of good culture is a tangible, strong and clear identity that makes it easy to recognize when an organization might be acting ‘out of character’. A strong identity makes decision making much easier.
The thing about organizations is that they are made up of multiple human beings and while there are of course lots of ways to express identity, one of the primary ways is with visual queues in a workspace. So how do we establish, develop and sustain a strong identity when we’re spread out physically all over the map and we are far less connected naturally to an identity that was previously realized mostly through sharing organic social and collaborative time together? It seems that organizational identity might be getting a bit blurry these days…
If you are an organizational leader and have a strong organizational identity what are you doing to sustain that identity? Even if the answer is unclear, it’s an important and timely question to ask.
As we all, I think, are feeling a little bit more freedom in our lives these days, enjoying the beautiful Canadian summer days, hopefully taking some vacation, and begin to enjoy some semblance of social interaction in sharing a meal with a friend at a recently reopened local restaurant or similar, our moods and minds have hopefully lightened since the dark days of March and April.
While I for one, recognize we are not out of the tunnel quite yet and that the tunnel is longer than I had originally hoped for certainly, I did start thinking about the “light”… and so I thought I’d share some design visuals to help any of you that are thinking about how to bring life to indoor space as the fall months approach and we begin possibly to consider moving inside and/or back to an office space that has been standing empty for some time. Well designed lighting solutions can literally reduce the darkness and create life in space.
Lighting design, for any space whether commercial offices, residential/homes, home offices, educational institutions or whatever, is often overlooked and can really be the key to creating inspiring spaces for living and working. Check out these visuals and hopefully get inspired to bring light into your tunnel.
In the immortal and legendary words of Tom Petty, our current situation is so aptly described. Our good friends at Raw Signal Group shared a newsletter with us that we think is worth including here as it really speaks to workjoy™ from a leadership perspective.
Click on the lyrics to see their latest newsletter recognizing an amazing opportunity for us all to ‘run the tapes’!
I think, truly, we are living in a history textbook these days. I have been amazed at how well so many have been able to transition productively to a work-from-home (WFH) environment; temporarily at least! We may finally be seeing “the end of WFH prejudice”1 and a paradigm shift that will eventually bring more work-life balance.
In the video, we are sharing a simple 7-step formula for those with enough space at home for a dedicated home office.
Here we’re hoping to help the MANY still grappling with creating a workspace at home not just to maintain their sanity but to thrive and gain inspiration while being productive at home. Homes are not designed to be workspaces and we know not everyone can carve out a dedicated space for work within their home. Stay tuned for a follow up video on creating space and workjoy™@home when, like most, a workspace cannot be separated from personal space.
On a broader note, there are some challenges and speed bumps ahead of us all and the data available is sparse on the long-term health and productivity of our WFH staff. The office btw is by no means dead despite some obituaries in the media. As we all strive to some extent to retain a more flexible work life in the months and years ahead, we’re excited to be launching our workjoy™ program in addressing the acute need for organizations big and small to address a more flexible approach to workspace.