A common question that leaders ask us is, “what can I do to ensure long-term sustainable growth for my organization?” Most have tried and failed by OVER-focusing on numbers such as a company’s bottom line. But the one key factor that we found most influential to a company’s success is culture.
Watch some expert insights on how to intentionally design a successful culture:
Culture is something that happens whether you plan for it or not. Similar to a family dynamic which will evolve consciously or unconsciously, it could be a good one or a bad one depending on whether you work on it or not. Putting conscious effort into creating the right kind of culture lays the foundation for a healthy and profitable organization. One of the foundations to developing a strong culture is values that are lived across the organization.
Values can’t just be a plaque on a wall; they need to be bought in by the people at all levels within the organization. A way to get people on board is to give them a voice with the opportunity for input when creating the company’s core values. From there, identifying behaviors for each value helps define and bring clarity.
Values and their behaviors need to be clearly defined so that they are universally understood across your organization. For example, if an organizational value is respect, that could mean a lot of different things to different people. A representative group of people need to come up with specific behaviors to help define respect - such as ‘only say things to other that you will say to their face’ or giving credit publicly and privately for ideas that people come up with.
People want to know how well they are contributing. When they don't know, they can feel flustered or lost. In fact, when managers provide clear expectations, their team members are 41% less likely to feel burnout. When it comes to evaluating values, the same expectations apply.
The leader or manager can defined behaviors to measure a person with the 360° feedback method which means requesting feedback from that person’s peers, their boss, and directs if they have any, as well as that person’s own self-evaluation. Based on those results, you can then identify how to best coach that individual.
An important perspective in terms of coaching is that it should be used to develop people. Initially It should not be used to punish (and judge) people if they’re not living up to the company’s values or if their scores in the 360° feedback are low. The ratings might be low because this wasn’t the focus in the past. Coaching is a developmental tool to help people understand where their blind spots are and to help them develop a pathway to learn and grow.
In order for this values system to take full effect, there needs to be alignment across the organization. Senior management has to buy into this, live it, and be willing to be measured on these values like everyone else. Top management need to serve as role models to the rest of the organization. Growing, learning, and change is part of a healthy organization. When that growth is based on values, (and they as leaders need to be seen as modeling that). A new and healthy culture will emerge.
Do you still need a stronger case for investing in your company culture?
You got it! Use this free worksheet to get the ball rolling: