Tuesday, January 6, 2015

D.I.Y. – A Plan for Culture Change

What’s your company’s culture?  I’m not asking what you want it to be, or what you tell your customers or clients.  I mean what are the day to day behaviors that are encouraged, rewarded and repeated by members of your team?  Is success based in camaraderie or cut-throat attitudes?  Do your foster teamwork or territorial behaviors?  An organization’s culture is not about what you say, but what you do.

As we start the New Year, this may be the perfect time to begin looking at making change, building upon what works, eliminating what doesn’t, and creating the culture your organization needs to succeed.  This isn’t about making a statement or creating a Phantom Culture.  This is about making deep, meaningful change.  Identifying and developing the culture that you want requires vision, planning, and commitment.

Vision – Know what you want the culture to be.  You may not be able to define the specifics, but you know that behaviors, attitudes, or teamwork will be different.  Have a vision, for how work will flow, people will function, and how business will be conducted.  As you determine your ideal, you can begin identifying what does, and does not, currently support that ideal.  Find your dream-team – those who are dedicated to creating that ideal.  They are needed to move any vision forward.

Planning – The vision is your end-game.  Planning is where you begin the work to get there.  Assemble your dream team and support them with time, space, and any other necessary tools to begin working toward that goal.  This team will need to work collaboratively to identify the specific qualities, in terms of behavior and performance, which will support the vision.  They will more fully imagine the vision, while refining the needs that the vision identified, and breaking them down into action steps.

Commitment – Having the vision, and carry-through of developing a plan will not change your culture unless you are committed to implementing it in every way possible.  Creating a culture and standing behind it means addressing those behavioral and performance standards during routine feedback, annual performance reviews, and everything in between.  It means holding every employee, at every level of the organization, accountable to that same standard, and it means making hard decisions when someone doesn’t “fit” your culture. 

Creating a new company culture is not simple or easy, but it yields impressive results.  When you identify and support your top performers, loyalty and productivity rise.  When you eliminate those on your staff who don’t demonstrate competency or accountability, you remove errors and stagnation.  A new culture allows you to promote the skills your organization needs to be its best, while removing the human hurdles that limit success.  The result - You create a dynamic team that can accomplish great things.  And who doesn’t want, and need, that?