When you look at an iceberg what do you see? You would probably say something along the lines of “I see a beautiful, majestic ice mass floating on an icy blue ocean, glistening in the sun.” This is quite a romantic picture, but you get the idea and are probably visualising an iceberg as you read this.
With this in mind, have you ever thought about what is supporting this large mass of ice? If you investigate, you will see that there is a completely different world just below the waterline. An even larger mass of ice, hidden just under the water’s surface is acting as a support system for this beautiful creation.
Let’s apply this iceberg concept to your business. The tip of the iceberg, the twenty percent above the waterline represents how the outside world sees your business. How your team, your clients and potential clients views how the business operates on a day to day basis. This is your company’s personality or character.
If you had to stand back, romance aside, and objectively evaluate your business and see what other people see, what would your first impression of the twenty percent be? How do you see people interacting and communicating with each other? How are things achieved and done within the working environment? What’s the biggest focus, what gets attention and what is ignored? Does your business walk the talk or just talk?
Do the results of your objective evaluation match up to your company’s vision, mission and values? How well your day to day business operations go is directly influenced by your business support systems.
The eighty percent, the mass of ice below the waterline represents your support systems. These support systems are not just your tangible business systems, procedures, protocols and routines. This ice mass also represents your company’s values and how your team lives and practises them in the working environment. The ice mass is your company’s belief systems, communication styles, leadership styles, feedback and coaching techniques practised by your business team-players. If these support systems are strong, well taken care of and developed you will see that the tip of your iceberg is stable, sturdy and able to weather any storm. Your day-to-day business operations are secure.
Is the tip of your iceberg a sturdy, strong ice mass floating on an icy blue ocean glistening in the sun, or are you noticing some sinking and ice erosion taking place? What’s your action plan? What are you going to do to strengthen your eighty percent?
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