There’s a reason why company culture has become such a big focus for companies both large and small. Studies show, time and time again, that culture can make or break performance, team cohesion, employee retention, and recruitment.
Is it Time to Rethink Your Company Culture? If you’re thinking about making a proactive move to enhance your company culture, that’s certainly not a bad idea—but wait. You have to be strategic, and to lay a foundation for long-lasting cultural change. Trying to implement big cultural changes overnight can backfire, causing too much tumult or simply not producing results that endure.
Therefore, what should you be thinking about as you are considering reshaping culture? Here are a few recommendations.
How to Rethink Your Company Culture
- Think about cultural visibility. Culture isn’t just a set of buzzwords you write down on a sheet of paper. Culture should be something your employees and customers can see through your daily actions and behaviors. How do you as a leader show what your culture is? And how does your team embody those same values? Think practically, not just abstractly.
- Think in terms of why. Why do you want to change your culture? What are the results you’re hoping for? What are the values you want everyone aligned with? Before making a big change to your culture, be clear with everyone about why you’re doing it, and try to get the full team on board with your decision.
- Think about the past. Not everyone likes change. In fact, some employees may be reluctant to let go of company traditions or habits. Be respectful of this, and try to recognize and affirm the good things that your company should hold on to.
- Think about emotions. A good culture should provide a space where everyone in the organization can express themselves freely, without fear or dread. As you think about cultural changes, make sure you’re leaving space for people to think and speak openly.
- Think about engagement. What will you do to get everyone at the company involved in the new culture? How will you ensure that it’s widely adopted? That’s always a key concern when thinking about changing the values or vision of your workplace.
3 Ways to Transform Your Company Culture
Do you have a great workplace culture? Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. Some workplace cultures are truly excellent, while others are utterly lousy. My perspective, based on years of experience as an executive leadership coach, is that most company cultures fall somewhere in the mediocre-to-good range—not bad by any means, but also not great.
Good vs. Great Cultures
A recent article from Gallup makes a similar point, asserting that these middling company cultures are prevalent—and that they exist because leaders simply don’t know how to do any better.
These company cultures are “well-meaning,” Gallup suggests, but don’t have a clear sense of how to transform themselves. “So they do what is easy — they deliver ‘satisfaction’ to the troops. Latte machines and volleyball and flex hours and so forth. These are fine — but they have no statistical relationship to creating new customers.”
So how do you build a great culture—one that empowers team members and helps bring new customers into the fold? According to Gallup, “You have to believe any star team leader, on any given day, can create new customers and save the company with an idea or breakthrough.”
A true team dynamic can only be attained when there’s a strong leader in place. “Remarkably, 70 percent of the variance between lousy, good and great cultures can be found in the knowledge, skills and talent of the team leader,” Gallup says. “Not the players, but the team leader.”
Transform Your Culture Today
The Gallup article goes on to make a few recommendations—basic principles to take a culture from that mediocre-to-good territory to true greatness. Let me summarize them for you:
- Change your leadership philosophy. Rather than try to micromanage and control, try to empower, to develop team members according to their strengths. Gallup describes this leadership style as “high development, high purpose and strengths-based coaching.”
- Make structural changes. Specifically, change your expectations for team managers. Make it a priority for them to actively coach their employees, and to touch base with them at least once weekly.
- Get buy-in from the Board/executive leadership team. Let them know you’re moving from a controlling leadership style to an empowering one—and that you’re doing so, ultimately, because you believe that’s how to grow the company.
Clearly, there’s much to think about as you begin plotting a new course for your company, and if you need guidance along the way, I’m happy to step in as a business coach or motivational keynote speaker.
Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of leadership and one of the most sought after conference keynote speakers on leadership, engagement, and business growth in the United States and internationally.
Dr. Rick is famous for helping organizations, corporations, and individuals with systems, strategies, and solutions that encourage engagement, resulting in increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micromanaging the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include Heineken, AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Franklin Templeton Investments.
You can contact Dr. Rick at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098.