In a previous post I talked about how creating an awesome company culture has tremendous ROI in terms of increased profits, decreased turnover, higher goal attainment, and becoming a lightning rod for top talent…not to mention the amazing customer experience the results! So how can you go about creating an awesome culture in your team or organization? The first step is to consider how your culture satisfies the operational and personal needs of your employees.
People (especially millennials) want to grow, learn, take on new challenges, and feel like they’re part of something special. They want to know what success looks like, get insights into how the business runs, and be given opportunities to step up. Whether you’re a manager trying to supercharge the performance of your team or an executive leader looking to take your organization to the next level, here are 4 great tips for building and reinforcing an awesome culture that gets results.
1. Make winning behaviors visible
As a leader you know what it takes to gets results, connect with your customers, and drive growth in your business. You might even provide positive feedback to people in 1:1 conversations, email, or company meetings. But if you really want to build a culture where winning behaviors are recognized and most importantly, replicated, you need to memorialize them and make them visible…consistently.
First, start by deciding what these winning behaviors should be. e.g. Do you value innovation? Learning? Teamwork? Customer service? Crushing competitors? Next, empower yourself and your people to call these behaviors out whenever you see them. A high visibility location like an internal social network (e.g. Chatter) is a great forum to do this. But remember, be specific! The more specific you can be about the behavior and the value it drives in your business, the easier it will be to others to replicate it.
2. Share leadership responsibilities with your team
Giving people opportunities to flex their leadership muscles is a great way to build the kind of team culture where members take ownership of each others’ success. For example, create roles for the team’s social convener, the pipeline/forecast czar, the customer-events specialist, the forecast guru etc. and empower those people to take ownership and make decisions around their segment of the operation.
When team members are given authority and autonomy to get work done on behalf of themselves and their colleagues, they accept greater responsibility for the results. What’s even better, research shows, is that when employees observe their leaders engaging in this type of selfless behavior, employees tend to be more innovative and go beyond the call of duty.
3. Set clear goals and objectives
One of the primary roles of leadership and culture is getting people to behave in a consistent (and productive) fashion, even when the leaders aren’t watching. Setting clear expectations and deliverables reinforces culture by providing a recipe for consistent execution and ensures everyone is focused and aligned on the things they need to drive the business forward. Goal setting also drives massive accountability between team members, leadership, and to ourselves. When goals are clear and *written down*, an almost magical social contract is established that keeps everyone focused and on track!
4. Foster transparency, visibility, knowledge transfer
When people are reduced to cogs in a machine, they become disengaged and ultimately care less about their results. If you want to engage your team members and help them act with purpose, they need to understand the “why?” behind what they’re being asked to do! An easy way to do this is simply combining your requests for action with a brief narrative explaining the impact that action will have on the business.
For example, do you find you’re a broken record, asking your sales team to update their revenue forecasts on a regular basis? Sharing insights into what that forecast data is used for, and how those higher level decisions impact them, will not only help them understand how the business runs, but the healthy dose of transparency and visibility will boost their engagement with the task and your team culture.
The key to nailing these behaviors is easy…practice! The more you find opportunities to inject these tactics into your daily routine, the quicker you’ll be on your way to building and reinforcing an amazing culture that gets results!