A number of years ago, I came across the concept of “brain tattoos” and how important they are in well run organisations and large projects.  I had the pleasure of being part of Robin Sharma’s inner circle coaching program when I commenced BRS where he was very good at reinforcing this concept.   Reflecting back on this now, I probably did not fully appreciate the value of brain tattoos, but over time I’ve now come to appreciate the value of this concept and how it is used by high performing organisations to facilitate results.

When working with high performing organisations, I have noticed that brain tattooing is alive and well.  Within the DNA of the high performing organisation or projects, employees are crystal clear around the key concepts and messages that make their organisation successful.  These organisations have successfully “brain tattooed” these key concepts into the fabric of how they do things and what things are most important.    It is remarkable that most of these brain tattoos have similar themes running across most high performing organisations.

Some of the more common brain tattoos in high performing workplaces I have observed are as follows:

  • Less is more.  An absolute focus on simplicity and making it easy to do business.
  • An external client focus.  The customer drives the organisation rather than the internal processes, forms and systems.  The tail should not wag the dog!
  • One percent improvements.  This is a focus on evolution rather than the magic pill or the instant fix.  Constant improvement is identified and actioned which is then embedded back in to the organisation.
  • Focus, focus, focus.  High performing organisations are very good at focussing on what matters rather than trying to be everything to everyone.  This focus starts from the top which is then communicated at all levels constantly.
  • Leadership.  They have a strong focus on leadership without title across all areas of their organisations, which ensures people are empowered to get on with their jobs confidently and decisively in an environment built on trust.  Leadership is visible across the organisation which drives success.
  • Collaboration and partnering. They partner well internally across the organisation as well as with clients, collaborate with key stakeholders and also reward these behaviours in their staff.

Your ability to be able to imprint “brain tattoos” within your organisation or project is critical to success.  Take the time to reflect on your key messages and look for every opportunity to reinforce with your team.  Tattoos are not permanent but very hard to remove!  They need to be embedded so that everyone is crystal clear on the key ingredients for success and how they contribute to achieving this.