There are two vital requirements when creating a great workplace culture. One is knowing what kind of culture to create and the other is implementing an effective culture change process. This article is about the latter. As a business leader, you must anticipate what’s coming next, know how to respond, and be able to imagine and create solutions often never seen or considered before, pretty much on the fly. Everything is happening fast and with great complexity which means your people must be able to think and behave in powerful, intelligent and innovative ways too. They need to be collaborative, confident and courageous in order to co-create what’s next.
“In the age of disruption, businesses live and die by their ability to adapt. Agility and adaptability have become catchy buzz words to get to the point of what businesses need to do – change. “
Top Right Leadership
You hear about the importance of human capital, performance management, employee engagement and workplace culture in presentations, articles, books and podcast and radio interviews. Most are describing the now-recognizable need for emotional intelligence skills to accomplish current and future initiatives. Human systems encapsulate the guiding principles we draw upon to inform us in how to think, speak, feel and act in accordance with our evolutionary process. And like our technologies, they need to be continuously growing and changing. Human systems once considered ‘nice to have’ are now ‘need to have’. The health of your workplace culture is documented as a leading predictor of your success and proven to bring bottom-line improvements.
People often ask me, “How do I implement a workplace culture transformation?” This article is my answer. You need a framework. A framework is a set of components that manage complexity and make intricate things work. One example of a framework is technology. Your people are expected to have a cell phone and computer as minimum requirements. This is also required in schools today. The same is true for your human systems. EVERY person who works for you needs to be included in a healthy, sustainable workplace culture process. A framework delivers this in through a combination of necessary components, such as:
Assessment. We use multiple assessments just like doctors have multiple physical assessments for our bodies. We need checkups for our human systems to measure the alignment of each person with your purpose, values and visions, goals, procedures and roles. You and they need to know, the trust and engagement levels and each person’s unique temperaments. This is a way to improve and then measure progress, including ROI.
Training. We use flipped training. This is when people repeatedly receive content in a multitude of formats. They not only hear it, see it, interact with it and lead discussion about it, they give and receive application of it in reciprocal mentoring sessions and help integrate it into new everyday operational practices like hiring, interviewing and onboarding new people no matter the title or experience. That’s a whole world different than old-school one-off top-down training. In flipped training, everyone uses auditory, kinesthetic and visual ways of engaging with information and uses a digital platform so that what’s learned and used is fully distributive, scalable and consistent.
Mentoring. The most important component in a workplace culture change that goes beyond training, is monthly mentoring. In mentoring, every person is asked to be self-and socially aware, then self and socially managing what is theirs to manage, through Socratic questions and encouraging support. This helps support your business growth. The contagiously happy and fulfilled teamwork that happens is an inadvertent side benefit for all.
Systems Integration. Culture change should result in a consistent, scalable, sustainable system in which your entire workforce will have picked up responsibility, and become an organization in which everyone is implementing all people development strategies together. Then you operate by a consistent set of concepts, terms, tools, and processes, including use of a 365-day app and reference tool that supports creating an extraordinary workplace where everyone wants to stay and contribute. You stand out way ahead of other organizations. We have specialized in this for decades! Transforming a culture requires dedication to not only learning but understanding, wrestling with, finding relevance in, trying on, practicing and mastering new ways of thinking and behaving that change lives and your organization for the better!
This article is published in the column The Extraordinary Workplace in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly, December 2023.