If you don’t deliberately set and own you culture it emerges, little decisions here and there add up to be the “way things are done around here” do I pick up the rubbish, do I answer the call 2 minutes before knock off, do I take a customer to a product they can’t find or I say I don’t’ know. On a bigger scale culture can be seen in things like how products and services are developed, how money is charged and spent and the hiring decisions in a business.
Recently, I worked with a manufacturing business that had become a difficult place to work. The people in the business were great, the leaders were really good caring people, the product offering fantastic and the technology to deliver for the customer was world class but the way people worked together within the business was hostile, back stabbing and out of control.
The thing holding business performance back was not a financial indicator or streamlined process or even a saviour employee it was how the people within the business worked together.
The challenge for this business, as it is for all business is to take control of the culture and point peoples behaviours and efforts in the direction of how the business needs / wants “things done around here” to ensure business success.
Over a few months I worked on a simple and effective cultural change strategy with this business and we changed the way things were “done in that business” we realigned behaviours and processes to support the new cultural goals.
The result was that within 6 months the business owner was able to take a much deserved long overseas holiday, the staff were supporting each other and the business outcomes and their market share had improved as they became known as a more consistent, professional business.
Steps to start to take control of the culture in your business
There is an easy model that I have developed to change cultures and here are the first steps to get you going:
1. Identify what everyone wants from the business: what goals do you, your people and your customers have that are related to your business. A staff member may want a fair work environment, a customer may want more product knowledge, you may want to be able to confidently step away fro the day to day operation of the business
2. Identify the existing culture: walk around do a “culture walk” notice how you and other do things in your business. It is important that you are objective and detached so you can see how your business is really operating. Ask people what is working well, what could we do better.
3. Identify the culture you need to deliver the right results: What is the gap between where you are now and where you want to be? What needs to change to align the results you want with the culture that will best deliver it.
Once you have identified the culture gap it’s time to start working on engaging your people and embedding he new culture into everything you do. That’s where I can help.