Creating the Culture Need

You’re smart business people. You’ve seen leaders take a ‘growth’ stance and build or elevate an organization to optimize its capabilities. And, you’ve seen leaders take a ‘performance’ stance and fine-tune what excellence is and looks like. A select few have the wherewithall to deliver a growth-performance model. Our mission and our success has been in being the ‘lubrication’ that ensures a growth-peformance culture is possible, practical and can be replicated.

In an earlier article here on introducing a culture change, there was an emphasis on how innovation demands new behaviors AND habits from leaders, employees and everyone in the organization. Instead of being antithetical to corporate cultures historically focused on operational excellence and efficiency, it’s focus was on learning and demonstrating how business gets done in a way that preserves the core of the organiztion – it’s highest purpose – by having each other’s backs with every interaction and with every relationship.

MOVE is the acronym for mobile operators ventilate easily – a term we use to bring home what it means to Get Off the X. X does NOT mark the spot unless you’re looking to have an anvil dropped from atop a cliff a la Wiley Coyote cartoon. Taking your culture from where it is to where it must go requires motion. Stand still and you’re dead just like thousands of shuttered companies. TransforMOTION means move your ass – you’re the leader!

What if you knew how to…

Make your culture a competitive advantage and not a liability,

Cultivate new beliefs, behaviors and habits, not rules

Create sustainable momentum for change, and not remain idle

Apply the performance and growth disciplines that affect culture and thus expected outcomes

Here’s How to Build Need for Change:

Define What The Desired Values and Behaviors Are to Be. Have your leaders clearly describe the values and behaviors they’re seeking? In simple language, no MBA speak. Make sure people understand and relate your culture to their day-to-day behaviors and habits. Identify the behavioral descriptors for each value you define and articulate how they would translate into actionable behaviors at all levels—from secretaries to middle managers to executives.

Align Culture With Strategy and Processes. All processes. Everything you do affects or influences the process – from the art on the walls to the toilet paper in the rest rooms. Look at your mission, vision and values – consider how they line up with your HR processes, including hiring, performance management, compensation, benefits and the promotion of talent. Think about how recruiting and talent management build your culture into your future from before someone is hired. What message are you sending inadvertently? purposefully? How are your succession plans really creating the leaders you want and/or must have?

Connect Culture With Accountability. Look at any of the Fortune 500 hundred companies that don’t exist today that flourished 15-20 years ago – WorldCom, Paine Webber, Arthur Andersen as examples. It is easy, particularly in difficult times, to forget the values you set in place to define your company. Reconize and acknowledge when ‘they’re doing it right.’ Look at the models of Atlassian for instance – authentically be who you are…be accountable.

Advocates Are Visible Proponents. For culture change to stick, it must be a priority of the CEO, BOD and Leadership Team. Show the board a framework for understanding organizational culture and its impact on performance. Working with them to create a standing performance objective for the CEO to evaluate culture’s impact on results. It’s no secret – our secret is you’re delivering a transforMOTION movement from your stale static to a performance-growth culture in small groups, volunteer armies…call’em whatever the hell you want. Advocates simply work!

Define the Non-negotiables. When contemplating a culture change, look at your current culture and call out the aspects you want to retain. HR may not have a seat ‘at the table’, yet it has a critical role to play in implementation. Determining what’s not up for debate is particularly important during mergers and acquisitions, when leaders of two or more organizations must figure out how to blend identities.

Align Culture With Your Brand. Culture must resonate with both employees and the marketplace. I see an increasing partnership between HR and marketing in this regard. Figuring out how to activate the brand across multiple stakeholder groups is a key element, and it is especially relevant in our current online world, where today’s bad customer experience can become tomorrow’s viral sensation.

Measure, Monitor and Manage The Process. We all know that what gets measured gets managed. We’re  deluding ourselves if we don’t admit many people still see culture as this fuzzy thing. We help demonstrate the effectiveness of your efforts by implementing employee surveys, talent analyses that identify gaps between desired and actual behavior, and assessments of ethics hotline usage all while leveraging culture circles (small groups).

Keep Moving Forward. Changing a culture can take anywhere from 24 to 36 months. It doesn’t happen overnight and your leadership and that of your team determines the speed of ‘the ship.’ It depends on accessing the true gap between the culture you have and the culture you must have. We don’t allow you to hide – by trying to smoke something by us or not fully open ‘the kimono’ only hurts you and your organization.  Start by making sure there’s a clear rationale for why the company needs to change.

Invest For The Future. Don’t wait for staff and resources that may never come. It takes years of investment to get to a point where your culture automatically becomes part of how you behave and act – so begin whatever way you can. Culture change is not a one-and-done exercise; there is always more work to be done. It’s fluid and it changes over time.

Be Bold and Courageous. Lead them! You could adopt the Cortez method – in 1519, Cortez burned his ships, thus his men were well motivated to succeed. While this tactic worked out well for Cortez, I would suggest leading by coersion is not one of your top 3 initiatives. You could adopt the ‘I love you guy’ method – while it would create a very happy, fluffy environment, nothing of substance will get done. You don’t have to be in a position of influence to have influence. However, when we step up, it encourages others to step up as well.

By your model, your lead, people will naturally follow! Employees are disengaged because too many men and some women have abdicated their role in leadership for a multitude of reasons. It’s high time to stop, step up and lead. We come along side you as the stake-in-the-ground ensuring you have clarity, hope and vision to see where it is you must go to be successful. We know what works and what doesn’t. We’ve made mistakes along the way, too and have fine-tuned and developed a process that anticipates where it will go off the rails and how your lead brings them back.

What we teach and coach you and your team can be implemented for years to come. We are what’s been missing from other service firms. If you don’t believe you’re going to stop at nothing to achieve the results you must have to be successful, then you shouldn’t invest. That’s why our clients consistently receive 5-10X on their investment – they get it done! Call me to discuss what’s working, what’s not and how we fill in the gap with you. 205-482-2177 or click here to email. For more background on who we are, why what we do matters and how we’ve developed a flawless process click here.

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