In the late 1990s, Havas, the large marketing multinational bought the independent ad agency, Jordan McGrath in New York. The CEO, Bob Schmetterer gave an all-hands talk to the latter, sharing how the industry is moving away from small independent shops to a more integrated, multinational model. A young copywriter in the audience asked Schmetterer with all this change happening, what was now the hardest part of his job? To which he replied, “getting people on board with the idea.”
Ain’t that the truth.
In this article from MIT, the authors highlight some essential ingredients you need to change culture that are more or less universal: respect for individuals, ethical leadership, fair rewards for work performed, and so on. It makes sense.
However, to truly change your organization culture, you need to be able to get people on board with the vision of where you’re going in the first place. And that’s not easy.
For example, in Boston Philharmonic’s Maestro, Benjamin Zander’s famous TED talk, he says the job of a leader is to inspire their people, “so you see their eyes shining. If their eyes are shining, you know you’re doing it.”
What he’s really talking about is a function of the culture we create i.e. “This is where we’re going” as opposed to “This is what we’re going to do.”
People need to know where they’ve been, where they’re headed, who they’re going there with, what needs to change, what they are actually capable of, how this will change them, and of course, where it all fits in the bigger picture.
In other words, they need a vision for the future they can connect with emotionally, basically saying: “This is how we’re going to FEEL when we arrive there, this is what it’s going to be LIKE.”
THIS is what “Onboarding” really means.