Today is the first of a recurring series of articles on developing a winning culture in your organization. With so many companies struggling in business, culture is at the core of their troubles, but they are sadly unaware of the source of their problems and often have no game plan to execute in building a winning culture. With this series of articles, we will provide you with a workable game plan to help you establish and maintain a healthy culture in your business that leads to ambitious results.
Think about your legacy when you leave what you’re doing. What do you want it to be? Determine what you’d like your legacy to be, and begin to build it from the start. Do it now! Customers demand results. Your workers want to be inspired to work at a company with a vision. They want to know that your vision is about more than simply growing revenue and making a profit. A great vision creates a cause, and your team wants to work toward a cause at a company that treats them with respect and fairness while trusting them to do their best work. Your colleagues want the company to provide them with ample opportunities to grow, learn and continue to be challenged as the company grows. Your associates will want to build a life for themselves and their families where they can see themselves building security and something of value. Understand what your employees need and deliver it to them better than your competitors do, and watch things start to grow. Competing effectively in the marketplace begins with providing competitive value to your workforce so that they will be strongly motivated to do a fantastic job of caring for your customers, so those customers will perceive value and want to return again and again for the great service you provide. Talk about a great legacy, leaving behind a company that cares about its associates enough to set them up for a life of success, taking extraordinary care of a constantly growing customer base of rabid supporters. Sounds good!
Make strategic determinations early on, about the kind of work environment your culture needs to produce. Encourage balance and alignment between your teams, but make sure that they know that balance and alignment do not equate to groupthink. Challenge your team to engage early in spirited dialogue to get to the best innovations and ideas as a group. Demand that your team seeks diverse contributions from a broad array of viewpoints, and help them to see that this enables the highest levels of teamwork, collaboration, innovation and performance. Demand active participation from all associates, and strive for an intelligent balance where all are respectful and active listeners who seek to understand their customers, teammates, and partners. Discourage shouting and associates who advocate too stridently for narrow outcomes that serve their interests, but not the larger interests of the team and the customer. The behavior that you tolerate sets the tone for what happens next. Set the bar high, and your associates will deliver their best behavior and work regularly. Tolerate dysfunction, and you will beget more dysfunction. Expecting great behavior makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it?
No sacred cows. The quickest way to introduce friction and distrust in an organization is to hold MOST of the team accountable, but to also simultaneously allow pet projects or certain team members to operate at a different, lesser standard. Inconsistent accountability is a cowardly way to run a business, and the penalty is severe and immediate. Frankly, too many business owners and CEOs allow someone or something to become a sacred cow in their business, and it causes problems EVERY time. There is a better way, folks. In order for ALL members of the team to respect that we’re all in this together, we ALL need to be in this together. You don’t have to treat everyone the same in business, but you MUST treat everyone fairly, and this starts with holding EVERYONE accountable for results fairly. Get rid of the sacred cows by beginning to hold them accountable the way you hold everyone else accountable. Your top performers will thank you for it, and it will improve their motivation dramatically in an instant.
Keep your eyes peeled for more articles in our series on developing a winning culture in your organization. Michael is a great culture architect for businesses and works with small and medium-sized companies to help them to develop their leadership teams and to build a great corporate culture that drives growth, profit, and a sustainable business model that allows for predictable results over time. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.