Taking Stock: The Bedrock of Your Bottom Line
What is the bedrock of your organization’s success?
It is that “thing” that tells your employees how to behave, how to approach their tasks and how “stuff gets done around here. What is that “thing” and what are your resolute intentions to strengthen it in the coming year?
Fact: That “thing” is your organization’s culture — the beliefs, norms, and practices shared among a group of people.
Here is the question: Would your executive team, managers and employees all describe your culture the same way? If not, they should. Under pressure, strategies break down, and the existing culture prevails — for right or ill. So a shared, healthy culture is essential for team success because roadblocks and obstacles are inevitable. It might sound complicated, but taking stock of how your culture is managed and communicated is critical.
Articulating Your Culture
Being intentional about culture means approaching it with the mind of an architect. Below are eight helpful rungs of insight to climb that will ensure your organization’s bedrock has the integrity to hold your lofty aspirations for success in the New Year.
Step 1: Explain It
Clearly, outline your organizational culture. What vocabulary do you use? How is it lived? How does it enhance your unique product or service? A leader who can clearly communicate the “what” of will be better prepared to execute on the “how.”
Step 2: Set It
Cultural attributes define expectations around attitude, collaboration, autonomy, and generally how behavior is regulated. Once these attributes become established, explicitly communicate them in simple phrases that clarify what you want from your team. Tip: Use simple, scalable, and sustainable language with visual illustrations whenever possible.
Step 3: Teach It
Modeling is the best way to educate team members about culture and expectations. Hosting culture training sessions for all levels of employees is necessary to mitigate against that the counter culture clash caused by multiple points of view and previous experiences that others bring to the table. Explore ways to dive deep and clarify each of the cultural attributes needing to be reinforced, and check for understanding regarding meaning and application.
Step 4: Communicate It
Directly share with your teams what culture looks like, why it is important, and how it connects to your strategic direction. Warning: The way you communicate with your team should be driven by EXISTING culture. If your organization leans more toward formal and structured, make sure you honor this in how you deliver your messaging. Contrastingly, if your organization is casual, your tone and posture should reflect that style in delivery.
Step 5: Loop it
Integrate culture into everything you do. This goes way beyond just your regular communications. How does your culture impact talent management? How does culture fit into your new talent on-boarding process? How do you incorporate culture into your performance appraisal process? Great organizations thread culture through everything they do.
Step 6: Measure it
Evaluation of culture is essential in promoting accountability on each level of your organization. Incorporate metrics into a developmental feedback loop for employees and managers to help integrate cultural values into continuous improvement goals and action planning.
Step 7: Celebrate it
Every organization has highly-regarded leaders who are the ambassadors of strong culture. Taking time to celebrate these individuals might be tricky in an insecure environment, but should be leveraged to ensure others see who is setting the standard of quality for your preferred culture. Recognize your champions and more importantly, place your heroes in positions of influence to assist in accelerating healthy culture across the organization.
Step 8: Live it!
Fact: Healthy culture attracts talent more than salary or benefits, but only when employees can participate in the on-going crafting of culture. Do you create opportunities for your employees to pitch ideas for improving your unique product or services? Open and collaborative systems supremely motivate Today’s generation, and this is becoming a non-negotiable factor of keeping your best talent.
Do you question the strength of your company’s culture, or are you wondering how to clarify it? If so, you are more than likely not getting the performance results you want. Do you want to grow your competence to accelerate healthy organizational culture and see transformed team leadership? Check out the GiANT 100X TEAMS Leadership Experience and let’s schedule a time to discuss your team-building initiatives for the upcoming new year.
About the Author
Joseph is a Creative/Connector with zeal to encourage, equip, and empower the leader’s journey from “success to significance.” Dr. Hill has a wealth of experience in organizational leadership, human development, and teaching as a practitioner, educational leader, executive coach, author, and blogger. Joseph holds a post-graduate degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Servant Leadership and is a Licensed Executive Coach through the International Coach Federation. Learn more about Dr. Hill at www.giantworldwide.com/dr-joseph-hill/ or follow him on Twitter @liveleadserve.