Culture may be your most significant and sustainable competitive advantage. Why then are most companies not more intentional about the culture they want? Very little time gets spent on creating, reinforcing and sustaining the desired cultures. Business owners pay the price for poor company culture in the form of strategies not getting executed, sub-par customer service, and regrettable employee turnover. Without putting time and effort into cultivating a positive company culture, it’s no surprise office culture can go south pretty quick. It’s like raising your children and hoping they turn out well, without teaching them what “good” looks like or how to get there.
Achieving the culture you want requires careful planning and execution, along with the appropriate mindsets. Most business leaders are clear on what they are passionate about and their purpose. But they do not take the time to make sure others are aligned and supportive. This process starts with determining what your employees believe, that underlies their actions. As leaders, you have an opportunity to reframe mindsets and beliefs to better align them with your growth vision. But this takes time, focus and energy - and happens one conversation at a time.
There are a few things you can do right away to start down this path:
Start thinking about each employee as a business partner. They’re investing their time with you.
Begin conversations with direct reports, and cascade, to better understand what drives them.
Take the time to share the nuanced vision and the importance of growth for all concerned.
Conduct a culture assessment to determine strengths and opportunities. Develop action plans.
Review all employee touchpoints to determine how congruent they are, including: - Selection process for new candidates to hire people with growth mindsets - On-boarding of new employees, with leaders inculcating the values and vision - Executives regularly talking with employees about the aspirational culture - Training front-line leaders to recognize and support the right cultural norms - Knowing who your cultural carriers are and supporting them with information
This is only the beginning. We will share more detail on effective approached in the coming months.Does your business culture incentivize innovation? Take our free growth audit to receive customized growth suggestions for your business.