Workplace culture and engagement seem to be at a definite ebb at the moment, if the findings of a recent engagement survey are anything to go by. This survey suggested that nearly two thirds of employees felt their company didn’t have a strong or positive work culture, and nearly half said they weren’t satisfied with the way their manager works with them.
Workplace culture may sound like a trendy concern, but don’t underestimate its importance … culture sets the stage for success
It’s important to remember that the raw materials vital for the success of, say, a sofa manufacturer are not just the components for the sofas themselves … the company’s culture has a critical role to play, too, it’s the culture of an organisation that is the strongest reflection of its shared values, whether they’re solidly pointed toward success or careering toward failure.
What all of the world’s most successful organisations have in common is not – obviously – what they do, but HOW they do it. The world’s most successful glass manufacturer, advertising company, bank (to name a few, the list could go on and on) became this successful because, as well as doing what they do brilliantly well, they’re led by people who really understand that developing a strong “unstoppable” organisational culture facilitates this.
The culture of every successful company is built through the actions of its leadership team. We’ve prioritised these into the Top Ten actions:
- Create it. Great leaders build and drive great cultures. They know it is their number one priority. They know they cannot delegate the task—they must create and lead a culture of greatness. Leadership begins with the process of creation.
- Teach it. Too often, leaders don’t feel a need to keep their employees informed about what’s going on or show them how to succeed. Instead, they leave people to their own devices to work it all out. If you want to have a successful culture, take the time to provide instruction and illustrations.
- Shape it. Cultures are constantly changing, and as a leader you must always be working to keep it in shape. A culture of greatness doesn’t happen by accident. It comes about when a leader expects greatness and each person in the organisation builds it, lives it, values it, reinforces it and fights for it.
- Humanise it. People are at the centre of every effective organisational culture. You can implement all kinds of processes and procedures, you can set up mental models and theory-driven systems, but at the end of the day if your culture isn’t humanised you’re missing the mark.
- Support it. Cultures that thrive have the support of the organisation’s leadership in addition to that of ambassadors throughout the organisation who believe in what is being accomplished. No culture can succeed without widespread buy-in and support.
- Trust it. If you trust your vision and direction and take ownership of them, others will trust and take responsibility themselves. When everyone holds themselves accountable, you have an organisation based on trust—and trust is the cornerstone of any healthy culture.
- Respect it. The undercurrent of any sound organisational culture must be one of respect. People who respect one another behave with courtesy and civility.
- Live it. Too often leaders talk about what’s required for the team to be successful but fail to hold themselves to the same standard. Leaders who truly live their values can expect those values to spread into every level of the organisation. The best company cultures are built on a set of core values that every leader and employee knows and lives out.
- Appreciate it. Regardless of what sort of culture you want for your company, there has to be an element of appreciation and recognition for others. Recognition means people care about each other and are invested in each other’s success. They recognise and appreciate diversity.
- Embrace it. Embrace your organisation’s culture by engaging in behaviours that support it. Too often, leaders focus on what’s not going right, which creates more of the same. Instead of placing attention on what’s wrong, focus on what’s right.
Your organisation’s culture is a reflection of its values. It is the voice of your business, and it takes you and each member of your team to ensure its success. When you provide an environment in which people enjoy spending time, they will not only do their job but will outperform themselves every day.