BUZZWORD ALERT!!!! Everyone is talking about the term "culture." I can't open an email, social media or have a conversation with a HR leader without the topic coming up, and I LOVE IT! Leaders are finally recognizing what it means and why it's important.
Organizations are making changes to become more employee- or customer-focused (I prefer the former)...and its not always easy. But first things first:
What is "CULTURE"
Nearly everyone has their own definition of "culture"...so I'll throw mine into the ring as well :).
"Culture" is simply the personality of the organization. The collective sum of all the employees' strengths, weaknesses, experiences, motivations, viewpoints, etc..
Cultures are like people, they grow, evolve & change. Cultures go through a process of maturation over time, with good and not-so-good experiences affecting their overall well-being. Like people, organizations look & act very different as they move through time - you aren't the same person you were in college? high school? are you? Neither is your organization's culture.
"Shifting" vs. "Creating"
So you've decided it's time for a change, GREAT! Let's create a new culture....not so fast.
Unless you just opened shop, you aren't "creating" a culture, you're SHIFTING - ignore what I say on my website :). Simply deciding one day on a management retreat you're going to change the way things have been done for years, and expecting immediate results, just won't work. Cultures take time to develop, and more importantly, time to change. The collective thoughts of the organization, both good and bad, drive the decision making, well-being and engagement of your troops - and those troops have good memories.
Signs Your Culture Needs a SHIFTING
How to SHIFT
GO BIG :)
Just because you're "shifting" doesn't mean you can't introduce the BHAG of all shifts. Often, big, over-the-top ideas for changing a culture are the ones that stick. They excite the team, create a mountaintop that requires the collective energy of everyone on the team, and shows each and every team member that leadership cares enough to change...and change BIG.
Starts @ the top - CEO, Senior Mgmt, so on and so on. Everyone needs to be on board. If they're not, dismiss them. Let me repeat that, "dismiss them!" This is a non-negotiable. Your organization's culture is the lifeblood; it's too important to screw up, and if you're undertaking a shift you need all hands on deck.
Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
I'm still amazed when I hear stories about this in 2015. PLEASE start communicating to your staff! Not in memo form, not in a formalized stand-in-front-of-a-podium and "go through the numbers," but in an honest, open and engaging way. Share with your employees what's to come in the future, inspire your employees with what senior leadership is doing today and tomorrow to make the organization a top place to work and engage the audience to get the feedback you need to move forward.
Actions. They DO speak louder than words.
Just remember, someone is always watching. Someone is always paying attention. As a leader, do you park in the spot closest to the front door? Do you hold the door open that extra 5 seconds for the person 20 ft away? Do you talk over people in meetings? Do you take the time to connect with your team in passing? The farther you go up that org chart, the more eyes that are on you.
@ the end of the day
Remember one thing - your employees can work anywhere they want. They give you the best hours of their day, away from their family, friends, hobbies, etc.. In return we pay them, but more importantly, we should develop a space and culture that excites them. That drives them. That motivates them to excel. A culture that raises them up vs. pushing them down.
husband + father + pilot + Leadership Coach | Consultant + startup fan + reader of personal #development, company #culture & leadership books