Jeff Grimshaw of MGStrategy: Cultivating Agile Cultures Through Risk

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 04-25-24

In this episode of People Solve Problems, host Jamie Flinchbaugh welcomed Jeff Grimshaw, Principal at MGStrategy, for a thought-provoking conversation. Jeff Grimshaw, who has dedicated over 25 years to assisting leaders worldwide in aligning their organizations’ people, strategy, and culture for better business outcomes, shared his insights on creating environments where taking calculated risks is encouraged to foster innovation and agility.

Jeff and Jamie discussed the critical difference between “play it safe” spaces and “go for great” environments within organizations. Jeff highlighted that many large companies, despite their complexity, are striving to become more agile to compete with smaller, more dynamic rivals. This transformation requires a shift in culture towards embracing risks as part of problem-solving and decision-making processes. Jeff emphasized the importance of defining clear domains where it’s essential to adhere strictly to regulations and standards, such as safety and quality control (“play it safe”), versus areas where innovation and risk-taking can drive growth and improvement (“go for great”).

A significant challenge in this cultural shift is overcoming the natural human tendency to avoid risks due to fear of failure or retribution. Jeff states that fostering a culture that supports taking calculated risks and learning from both successes and failures is crucial for organizations aiming to be more agile and innovative. He mentioned the importance of retrospectives or after-action reviews as a tool to learn from all outcomes, regardless of whether they’re seen as successes or failures, helping to mitigate biases that can hinder effective decision-making.

The conversation underscored the importance of aligning individual actions with the broader interests of the organization. By encouraging a mindset of playing to win and thinking long-term, Jeff believes that organizations can overcome the inertia of a survival mindset, which is more about avoiding blame than achieving greatness.

This episode offers valuable insights into how leaders can cultivate a culture that balances safety and innovation, encourages risk-taking within a calculated framework, and aligns individual motivations with organizational goals for sustained success. Jeff Grimshaw’s experience and perspectives make it a must-listen for anyone interested in leadership, culture, and the dynamics of change within organizations.

For more on Jeff Grimshaw, visit his website at MGStrategy and connect with him on LinkedIn.