Colour Cube focuses on creating small “diagonal” network groups across the organisations. People are selected from different parts of the organisation from different layers to form one Cube. Colour Cubes are integrated with the Organisational Values and Cube members can focus on leadership development activities in line with the Values.
Today’s global business environment which changes rapidly requires visionary leaders to synergise the people and get everyone on a journey. Organisations cannot always survive with few leaders in the top level. With the current agile nature of global business, what we need is a nurturing culture. To enable this, there should be leaders across the organisation at each level to take it to the next level. Each employee needs to be a leader regardless of their position.
One of the greatest challenges for leaders is creating the leadership-development climate and facilitating it. Each organisation has its own unique leadership demands. The leadership development programme should understand this and align with the organisational principles.
In reality, most individuals naturally step up to the leadership role when situation demand and step-back at other times. That means, when more chances are given, people have more opportunities to exhibit and develop their leadership skills. The proposed solution describes a program which gives more opportunities for everyone in the organisation to develop their leadership skills.
Three main issues observed in many traditional organisations are:
- Organisations put more focus on the individual leadership development activities. But leadership development has three balanced layers – individual level, group level and collective level attributes.
- Traditional organisations have well defined divisions- both vertical, and horizontal. However, there is a lack of focus on the ‘diagonal slice’ interaction when it comes to leadership development.
- Social Relationship of people is very complex in a typical hierarchy and function oriented organisation. Informal relationships on the other hand, create a bond between people.
The guiding principle is that “Leaders should be created at all levels and are capable of leading the change and creating strategies”. The Cube approach therefore focuses on creating small “diagonal” network groups across the organisations. A “diagonal slice” helps the organization to develop the visionaries and revolutionaries at various levels. People are selected from different parts of the organisation from different layers to form one Cube. Ideally, a cube is formed by 20-25 people randomly selected from different layers of the organisation.
Each Cube is the same in size and shape. Each individual in the organisation in this Colour Cube are treated equal whether it’s CEO or the Customer Service Representative. The Cube social system breaks all vertical and horizontal boundaries, but at the same time, keeps the entire organisation cohesive.
To ensure these groups add value to the organisation, Colour Cubes should be integrated with Organisational Values. Assume an organisation has four different values – Integrity, Innovation, Community and Customer Focus. Each Coloured Cube can be associated with each Value. E.g. Red Cubes can focus on “Integrity”, Blue Cubes can focus on “Innovation” etc.
Cubes are painted with Colour simply because colour is the principal cue to composition; the first thing humans look at for the information which tells us how to respond. It is also a fact that visual atmospherics such as colours, sizes and shapes increases the ability of people to associate variables.
Once the network group is formed, they can pick the colour of their cube and all the leadership development activities should be aligned to the associated Value. The benefit of this approach is that values motivate the people and define the way they see the organisation and approach work.
In large organisations, there will be a number of cubes with same colour. An example of colour cube converted into a 2D layout is shown below.
To help the different cubes act in unison, different cubes of the same colour can organise events and activities on a regular basis.
Colour Cubes are characterised by the absence of hierarchy. However, they can appoint a Cube Coordinator whose role is to guide the member’s development and to stimulate the collaboration within the cube. Cubes can design leadership development opportunities such as organising events and activities. Different Cube members should take different leadership roles for each of these programs. Everyone gets opportunity to work with people in different levels. Members that are already in the leadership position can support other members to develop their skills.
The idea is that when people in cube work together on a challenging task, this will help the individuals to share, learn and reflect the knowledge. This approach helps to develop individual knowledge and skills and at the same time enhances collaboration and resource exchange in creating better organisation.
- Colour Cube leadership development program serves dual purpose: Building Leadership Talent and Value Congruence. With the leadership development activity aligns with the organisational values, a pool of leaders are developed with skills, commitment and involvement.
- The team can have a group leader, but he is often treated a peer. Therefore, it transforms leadership based on position to leadership based on capacity.
- The Colour Cube group helps to engage dialogue across difference functions and levels of the organisation. This helps the people to develop cohesion and understand the organisation’s larger vision and values.
- In the Colour Cube approach, since the team is purposely created by breaking the team boundaries, there is no concept of incremental transition of position. The core concept is incremental transformation and empowerment of people at all levels.
- Breaking down top-down style overnight to enable a nurturing and agile culture can become suicidal. This requires gradual transition.
- Trial run with 4-5 cubes in the organisation and monitor their progress over time. This is important before the program is implemented across the organisation
- Prepare and review an action plan for each team and educate Cubes about other Cubes.