Vibrant cultures promote innovation and collaboration and deliver stronger results. What are you doing to build a vibrant culture?
We use the vibrancy framework extensively in our transformation work to help clients build a culture of innovation and collaboration. This page contains several interviews with the creator of the vibrancy framework. We believe one key to successful transformation is listening to thought leaders and “positive deviants” or the best people in a given field. Our Voice America series, Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations is designed to present genuine conversations with successful leaders across a broad spectrum of fields. This resource is intended to offer unique, high value conversations and research.
These conversations are often accompanied by blog posts from those interviewed.
What is Culture of Innovation and Harmonic Vibrancy? We are familiar with the positive experience of places we love to go, homes we enjoy visiting, conversations we relish. We call this experience of vitality “exuberance and flourishing harmonic vibrancy.” People feel it and seek greater vibrancy, whether consciously or subconsciously, to guide their interactions with others. To enable organizations to attract and retain the best talent, and engage in the most effective business practices, Jim Ritchie-Dunham, Founder and CEO of the Institute for Strategic Clarity and adjunct researcher at Harvard, created a study to identify key factors that help us improve our overall vibrancy and outcomes. You can use the survey findings to guide your actions in improving your organizational vibrancy. The individual survey is free of charge Please take it and see how different organizations in your life test.
Why Care? By understanding where your organization excels and where it falls short, you will be able to address challenges and build on your strengths to create more vibrancy and greater success. Our goal is to create organizations that attract and retain the best talent and accomplish their missions and visions. These organizations are the foundation for thriving communities that renew themselves for the next 100 years and beyond.
Questions This Raises. If people care about their experience in an organization, and it is an attractor for business and talent, what are the characteristics? Can people discern higher and lower levels of it? What is the role of leadership in the experience of vibrancy in a group? Do all groups within an organization have access to this higher vibrancy or does it depend on the resources the group has? Does this higher vibrancy lead to strong, more sustainable outcomes?
What We See. Jim Ritchie-Dunham and the research team from the Institute for Strategic Clarity, including leaders from diverse disciplines, have surveyed over 2,500 individuals about the groups in which they participate. Participants told us that in the groups where they experienced greater vibrancy, they also experienced a higher quality in the group’s leadership and they experienced a greater connection to five key elements:
- the group
- process innovation
- source of creativity
The interesting and counter-intuitive finding was that these relationships are experienced at similar levels of health: when any relationship is strong, the others are also relatively strong, and when any relationship is weak, the other relationships are also relatively weak. The term harmonic vibrancy is drawn from the idea that to be truly vibrant, all relationships need to be vibrant (or in harmony with one another).
Implications. These findings go directly in the face of prevailing theories of economics, where one relationship (e.g., the self, the other, the group, innovation, creativity) prevails over all relationships. If there are indeed groups where people experience a deeper vibrancy, and these groups seem to have similar characteristics; what does this mean for how we engage in groups together? Can we, as an organization, identify these characteristics and organizations that have them? How do we share the best practices with other groups within to the community to raise the overall community vibrancy measure, national vibrancy and international vibrancy?
To help you learn more about vibrancy, please explore the resources below.
- Forbes Article: Four Major Success Factors in Large-Scale Transformation, June 2017
- Interview Agreements of Transformation: 2017 Global Analysis. Christoph Hinske discusses his findings from the experience based research exploring the patterns and specifics of societal-scale transformations in different culture. This research was commissioned by the German government and focused on global transformations outside of Germany. Christoph interviewed 22 thought leaders about their personal experience in running large scale transformation processes. Specifically he looked at the global implications of transformation exploring the patterns and specifics of societal scale transformations in different cultures. This work is now being leveraged by sustainability and transitions people around the world. During the interview, he shares common themes across cultures and transformation focus and recommendations that increase the probability of transformation success. The following quote summarizes how individuals and organizations view resources: “they are often perceived to be limited, but never scarce”
- Christoph Hinske, Jim Ritchie-Dunham, Annabel Membrillo Jimenez, Ana Cláudia Gonçalves Transformation 2017– Experience Based Research Exploring the Patterns and Specifics of Societal-Scale Transformations in Different Cultures, Institute for Strategic Clarity, 2017
- Maureen Metcalf. Do Leaders Benefit from Understanding Frameworks? Forbes.com, December 2016
- Maureen Metcalf. What Questions Help Identify High Quality Leaders for Your Organization?, Forbes.com, August 2016
- Jim Ritchie-Dunham & Maureen Metcalf. Co-hosting: Creating Optimal Experience for Team Interactions, Integral Leadership Review, November 2016
- Interview Teams that Cross the Highest Bar, Not the Lowes Common Denominator: Jim Ritchie Dunham. For people working in groups, we have often seen the group perform to the level of the lowest common denominator. This conversation provides a high-level framework for leaders to refine their approach to increasing team effectiveness by leveraging the concept of “room to roam.” Room to roam looks at five key variables we believe are the foundation when looking at leadership successful performance in groups. The five perspectives are: 1. Leadership maturity 2. State development 3. Years of experience 4. Mindfulness 5. Ability to identify and “co-host” or build on the perspectives in the room This conversation explores the five perspectives in greater detail as well as the idea of “co-hosting” as a tool to change the way the group works. Another critical element of group functioning is the agreements they have with one another on how they operate.
- Interview Revitaliza: Shining Example of Vibrant Success. Revitaliza is a woman owned green building company in Mexico committed to improving the world and the lives of their employees and clients based on their services and the company culture they have created. Also embedded in their culture is empowerment of women. Revitaliza and its owner are truly “positive deviants” and a shining example of a company making a positive impact and making money. During the interview they talk about how they are shifting agreements within their company and the impact this has on their employees, their process efficiency and their external stakeholders. • How do you use the focus on agreements to build your culture and drive successful performance? • What are some of the agreements you have put into place? • Talk about how you are shifting agreements within the company and the impact this has on their employees, their process efficiency and their external stakeholders.
- Interview CEO Perspective on Building A Vibrant Organization: Jim Ritchie-Dunham, Annabel Membrillo and Ana Claudia Goncalves discuss Organizational Vibrancy. This body of work is making a great impact in entire organizations and in pockets of organizations around the world. It has helped them identify where they excel and what gets in the way of their teams bringing about the innovative solutions they say they want and need to have a thriving organization. Questions to be discussed: 1. What is vibrancy? 2. How do agreements fit into this equation? 3. As the CEO of an international organization – what question were you looking to answer when you starting considering assessments? 4. Why the vibrancy assessment? 5. What value did you get? 6. What were the leadership qualities required to successfully implement the changes recommended to create a highly vibrant organization?
- Interview Creating Vibrant Departments in Large Complex Organizations – Vibrancy and Ecosynomics are important topics for organizations that want to create engaged employees and drive strong business results. One of the vibrancy community’s goals is to identify the highest vibrancy organization and highlight what they are doing so others can benefit from the success of the highest vibrancy organizations. This interview with Jim Ritchie-Dunham and Dan Mushalko looks at WCBE public radio station in Columbus, Ohio. WCBE is an organization that has tested high on the vibrancy scale while the parent organization scored as less vibrant. Much of the difference in scores can be attributed to the deliberate actions taken by the General Manager, Dan Mushalko to address issues that are a “drag” on the stations vibrancy. A key focus of this discussion will be creating vibrant departments or units within a large organization even when the parent is not focused on vibrancy. Dan and Jim discusses his success factors driving vibrancy.
- Interview Creating Vibrant Organizations to Drive Performance: Ecosynomics. Jim Ritchie-Dunham and team developed a quantitative framework based on extensive data collected across 93 countries to identify the factors that make an organization vibrant. Jim Ritchie-Dunham, Christoph Hinske and James Drinkwater discuss how this framework drives organizational abundance by improving an organization’s ability to innovate out of key problems and create strategic advantage. The agreements (often unconscious) serve as the differentiator between organizations that consistently transcend the constraints of our daily organizational lives and those who don’t. By creating conscious agreements that enable participants to identify creative solutions, they can determine how to implement innovation and execute for results. Organizations that can’t do these three tasks will be outpaced by those who can. We will discuss: 1. What is vibrancy and ecosynomics? 2. How has the framework been used in the World Green Building Council? 3. What early results are you seeing? 3. How can you learn more?
- Interview How Big Change Happens. Christoph Hinske gave a keynote speech to the World Green Building Council in Venice focused on retrofitting all buildings in Europe. The gathering was part of the EU funded BUILD UPON project, the world’s largest collaborative effort on building renovation – bringing together over 1,000 organizations, across 13 countries, at over 80 events in 2016-17. As leaders focusing on implementing multiple concurrent changes – it is imperative that we understand what drives change and what inhibits it or just drains our energy. He discusses the following: 1. Tell us more about the World GBC project. 2. How does your work with agreements increase the probability of successful transformation? 3. What is an agreements map and the cost of scarcity calculation? 4. How does mapping and calculating the cost of agreements drive change? 5. What concrete steps can I take to evaluate my agreements?