Six Steps to a Company Worth Learning From
A lot gets written about organizational culture. Like employee engagement, workplace culture is a hot fire burning but very few work places manage to get reins around the wild horses that romp through their open-floor plan. Culture may even eat strategy for Lunch.
Take a look at implementing each of the following, and you’ll see your employees more actively engaged, and more actively advocating for your bigger, broader picture.
1) Rely on a Good Statement of Values and Purpose and not just on a stale company mission statement. Direct it to the outside – but understand you’re building something good on the inside. That’s why they’re called “values”.
2) Make Sure Everyone is Aligned. How do you do this? Ask them. Or make sure your people are asking them. Understanding employee goals is absolutely vital to the proper alignment of your organization.
3) Creating Excitement is Good. Do it in Moderation. A couple of symbolic gestures can’t hurt – but employees, just like customers, will see right through phoney gestures and false enthusiasm. A couple of events a year are sufficient. Do semesters, or trimesters. Monthly and quarterly is probably too much.
4 ) Explain the Structure of Teams. Know where you need help and what helpers are necessary, but make sure everyone knows. Make sure that people know who is smarter than you. Make sure that management are NOT just posing as smart people but that they are managing truly smart people and that they are aware that there charges are smarter. Make sure the charges no too. Suddenly you’re talking about true cooperative everything.
5) Educate and Train. But before that, explain the process, the reason and THE GOALS. Keep in mind. A workforce that is learning and auto-educating is a workforce that is engaged. Celebrate their achievements just the same as big expensive training sessions. And keep in constant conversation how the training is applied toward meeting goals and the Values Statement above.
6) Acknowledge all Innovation. Continuous improvements to process, thinking, and models – as well as products or service – need to be noted and acknowledged. This is a culture of innovation. If they’re feeling stuck, then you need to publicly celebrate innovation from where? From Culture. And you can borrow from the very highest culture. Think opera, symphonic music and visual arts. Talk about them. Learn from them, or have the real enthusiasts share what they know.
Some of the above is terrifying.
Especially to engrained, old-school management. These people are likely costing you a fortune for the sake of avoiding trouble. Usually that means they’re avoiding trouble for themselves. You’d fire lesser people in a heartbeat for avoiding doing their jobs, so why are holding onto management that instills a culture of depression, loss and ease?
Instead of holding a meeting to ask people, start issuing directives aimed at building out that Values List, and then following up on it. Get management on your side, and if they’re not on your side, then what are they doing there?
Photo this page: Elder Flowers Little, ©Wikimedia Commons by Rosendahl