To reference the famous mantra from Ghostbusters, “We’ve got the tools. We’ve got the talent!” Now if only that was all we needed for a high-performance organization!
Arguably, there are more ingredients in the recipe than the ones at the top of this list, however without these key elements, you simply can’t get there. So, what are the main ingredients? Can you guess? Some people say, “Strategy.” Others say, “Mission and Vision.” Marketers will often suggest, “Tagline.” I tell them those are all great and necessary elements, but we see them as further down on the list.
At Connecting for Results, we argue strenuously for CULTURE to be in the Top 3 with technology and people. We see it as both a bedrock and a garden to be continuously monitored. So why is it often overlooked? We think it’s because it’s seen as one of those “soft, intangibles” best left for academics to tout – and it’s not that easy to tackle. However, it’s worth the effort because the reward is seen on the bottom line, in the lunchroom, in the shop, in the offices, and especially on your employee’s faces, at work or not. And your customers will thank you too!
A study by Job Seeker Nation found that 32% of new employees leave within the first 3 months of employment due to a bad company culture. We like to think a strong culture is like a good sailor’s knot. The more you tug on it the stronger it gets, virtually impossible to break.
Like it or not, your company already has a culture. Unfortunately, too often it’s like an orchestra of musicians with different song sheets. You can’t “hear” culture unless you think about the song sheet the way we think about the rope. Everyone must be on the same page or there will be disharmony.
Here are some of our recommendations for a fantastic culture:
Values and principles are key
“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.”
– Robert L. Peters
Our emphasis is on the word, “design”. Your company already has a culture but how much of it is by design? If you can’t say it was all on purpose then you have some work to do, and as Robert L. Peters says, our legacy comes from the amount of effort applied. Think of it as an investment; if you don’t invest in designing your company culture, you’ll have to invest in fixing it. The more time you take to think about it, understand it and grow it, the greater the rewards, socially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and financially. You might also find that the levels of stress in your company are less, so physically everyone is better off.
Start with your direct reports
If you Google best company cultures you won’t find any printing companies among the top ten. This is a missed opportunity! You want everyone, including yourself, to say, “This is a great company to work for” and be able to cite the top five reasons. Understand the benefits yourself then discuss them with your direct reports. Also, make it clear every employee will be involved since inclusiveness is an essential ingredient.
Dig deep into what is needed in your company
A cookie cutter approach doesn’t work, simply because every company is unique – a sense of ownership and affiliation must be part of the mix. The only way to achieve this technique is to involve all employees in the process. Yes, it’s hard work, but high involvement leads to high commitment, leads to high performance. When all employees feel they are heard, appreciated, and essential for collective success you don’t need to manage them. As their leader you are constantly asking questions like, “How can I help you succeed? Are there obstacles in your way? Are there more bridges we need to build over troubled waters?” Music to your ears are the words, “I would follow our leader anywhere!”
For more information on our people and leadership services, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Gary Forget