Gabazira's blog

The Effectiveness-Lab

Can CLASS be ascribed to organisations as it’s to humans? Series 1 of 2

We are discussing class at organisations this and next week

You have come across people that refer to others as a class apart. Yes, some women and men are a class act. They are referred to as class and in some instances, classic. It’s a unique group of people that display impressive and stylish excellence. They are much better than others of a similar ilk

The same is true for organisations. Certain organisations are a class apart and better than the peers when it comes to class behaviour. Class organisations excel at what they do and are perceived as such by those that work for them directly, those that interact with them and those that observe them from afar. Class becomes part of the organisation’s DNA and unawares, such entities ooze class

Our blog Organisation culture-hygiene mischief discusses culture hygiene at organisations, and sadly, how senior managers that are supposed to build effective bridges for culture-hygiene actualisation, confuse hubris and paper-statements for organisational-culture health. Managers also confuse goals, and at a higher level – the vision, for organisational culture. In this hotchpotch, and the ensuing OD. myopia, managers present to the outside world a supposedly ideal culture-orientation, but one that is different from what the rank and file know to be, at the company.

The same applies to class dynamics at the organisation. Managers overate the state-of-class at the institutions they lead, and they aren’t schooled enough to build effective and sustainable organisational-class eco-systems.

Managers are blind to low-class manifestations at the firms they lead. Managers assume that their entities are of the classic ilk, even when they’re not. The latter is akin to parents and their offspring. For reasons to do with nature and the bonding that ensues between offspring and parent, every parent’s kid is excellent even when the opposite is true. In some cases, parents won’t put in the effort to groom good offspring and don’t see the bad – it’s a human thing not to see what is wrong in such situations.

The good news is that class is not something that organisations can fudge – of course, some try to do so, like elaborated above. But the ultimate class Judge for organisations is not those in power or owners at the organisation. But instead, observers inside and outside the organisation, that aren’t even close or have the privilege to power.

The powerholders and what they do with power can be anathema to the attainment of class at organisations. In fact, class, in its true sense, is imbued upon the organisation by insiders and outsiders, outside the inner circle of power.

And, we aren’t saying that you don’t need inner power to attain class. To the contrary, power, perhaps we should add conscientious power, is vital to creating sustainable class-status at organisations.

However, such power needs to be very carefully nurtured and calibrated, to get the balance right, in the intricate game of applying power to: shape direction, oversee action and attain signature outcomes vs ensuring that such application of power also exhibits best – practice, attitude, and behaviour as well as win-win outcomes.

Class organisations attain win-win and signature results from the games of power. Of interest is the fact that power games are like asking the army to fight a war and capture territory, without using any firepower. Class is about the seemingly impossible but possible and eludes many organisations

It’s challenging to lecture leaders, managers, as well as owners on how to attain class at an organisation. Some of these things boil down to DNA strength. It’s like how we can’t teach humans to breath – humans get to breathe because this is something built-in from the time they are conceived

For solutions to the above – the best the Effectiveness lab can do is to outline, moreover using robust research and evidence, some of the manifestations of class organisations.

It’s then up to the leaders and managers to work backwards from such manifestations to: the process, action and culture that can get your organisation certified as classic

See you next week for series 2


One response to “Can CLASS be ascribed to organisations as it’s to humans? Series 1 of 2”

  1. […] the end of series one, we promised to outline research and evidence regarding the manifestations of classic […]


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About Me

Apollo B. Gabazira is an Ugandan OD. junkie fascinated by matters that render organisations/individuals effective or not. He blogs on effective leadership and management. He is a devoted green-farmer and breeds the Ayrshire cow at Nakabugu, Luuka district, Uganda. Apollo is quite effective at what he chooses to do.


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