Are you losing too many opportunities? Chronically experiencing poor relationships? Observing under-performance and disengagement from your people? Do you wonder if your company could be demonstrating more extraordinary results? The good news is you can and will… when you get your workplace culture right! In my eleven years of working in the field of human systems, leadership development and workplace culture, I have seen leaders turn around results so much they become excited to get up in the morning and go to work. But creating the kind of culture needed is not for the faint of heart. Learning, prioritizing and implementing a process for doing so can stretch even the most seasoned business owner. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappo’s spoke about the importance of healthy culture best, “Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees. I view my role more as trying to set up an environment where the personalities, creativity and individuality of all the different employees come out and can shine.” I bet you too want to see the best of your employees ‘come out and shine.’ You’ve also likely read Michael Gerber, “You need to work on your business, not just in it,” and Steven Covey, “Develop the habit of being proactive.” Easier said than done? Do you wonder, “How do I run my business, manage my day-to-day goals and challenges, and create healthy culture when I don’t know where to begin, what to do, and how it looks when I’ve arrived?” In my new column, I’ll share with you what, when and how to create a workplace culture that produces extraordinary results. Your systems for accounting, sales and IT are not optional, nor today’s sophisticated communication systems. Yet, many business owners act as if attention to their human systems is optional. A healthy workplace culture is a critical set of integrated human systems based on best practices, designed to help your people get along, get a LOT done and feel enthusiastic doing it! The following 7 steps are needed to create a responsibility-based workplace, informed by values:
- Make sure the CEO and Senior Team understand and are committed to support a Transformation Process.
- Benchmark your organization’s culture to determine the starting point, then measure regularly.
- Get all Senior Team members “On the Bus” and develop a plan that builds trust, creates alignment and includes how to hire, fire and live by your values.
- Ensure all Managers and Supervisors become emotionally intelligent, learn coaching and counseling skills, trust-building and can develop leadership and intrinsic motivation.
- Integrate practices in which all employees operate by 8 Values that Build Trust.
- Teach your staff how to operate in Cross-Functional Teams.
- Use Cross-Functional Teams to redesign human and other systems, processes, and structures.
The two most difficult things to understand as you embark on a culture formation or transformation is to understand what conditions and conversations are needed for developing the most extraordinary of people. What KIND of culture and how to implement it are both equally important. Today’s workplace requires that we learn new ways of sharing power, operating from purpose and values, learning to be holistic in how we show up in all settings, learn to be highly responsible while becoming every more free and how to develop an agility between being a leader and a follower so that you can meet any need for either one. You also want to help people develop their heuristic ways of thinking so that they can critically think and create solutions on the fly. No longer is it possible for people to be algorithmic in their thinking and behaving. The world is moving too fast and changing too much to rely on outdated formulas for guiding behavior and thinking. We are proven in our ability to help you with detailing the transformation process, strategies, concepts and tools needed so you thoroughly and confidently enjoy growing and leading your company, help all your people have a life they love and begin or create and sustain your extraordinary workplace culture.
This article was published in the column The Extraordinary Workplace in The St. Louis Small Business Monthly, January 2013