It’s a mystery to many leaders how company cultures are created. The truth is, they begin during the inception of the company. As employees, leaders, customers and vendors come and go, the culture is unconsciously fine-tuned by everyone.
Most leaders believe their culture is a mystery and they have no responsibility for it. What they fail to understand, they create the culture, deliberately or by default, based on their decisions and mindsets. For example, if a leader is unwilling to rock the boat to resolve any issue, this mindset naturally becomes ingrained in the culture and others will follow suit in order to keep their jobs.
Transforming your culture for true growth requires a strategically crafted vision to support and sustain the company’s new direction. And, a true leader can see the big picture, handle the small details, and engage others along the way.
Now, for the million-dollar questions, How willing are you to lead this transformational process? Or, are you simply going to allow whatever happens to happen?
Leading Transform for True Growth
Build on What Works. It requires a lot of conscious thought, strategic conversations, persistence and belief for transformation to successfully occur. Remember, it’s a process, not an event. Build on what is working by consistently building on its strengths. Perhaps more important, hire a trusted business advisor to keep you focused and vigilant when handling the status quo. (According to a recent study,* only about 8% of executives surveyed are capable of guiding their organizations through transformation.)
Develop Strategic Insight. Set aside the time-consuming and costly common approach of repeating of the same old processes, believing they are new and different. (Note from author, after working with 100’s of companies, this is more common than you realize.) Real transformation requires questioning the elephants in the room that are ingrained in the fabric of the culture. This part can be very difficult since it requires open dialogue and real leadership – moving people out of their comfort zones. Bring in an objective and strong facilitator to lead the conversations. Stay on point and don’t delve into the blame game.
Engage Your People. For true growth, your employees must consciously and whole-heartedly support change. This can be scary for them when they don’t know what to expect. Engage at every level within your company. Remember to keep talking with your customers, vendors and communities too.
Hire the Right Team. The biggest challenge for companies is developing a team that supports the new vision. Often the old guard will not support “new” ideas. The added challenge is new employees will usually succumb to the old culture in order to be liked, accepted, and keep their jobs. Use qualified assessments not only for hiring new employees, but to also train, coach and manage current employees. This will support the cultural changes you need to make for sustainable growth.
Make the Difficult Decisions. Many leaders base their decisions on the old mindset, forgetting the newly develop strategies. These require having conversations and looking in the new direction. Work with your trusted business advisor to talk you through the pros and cons. With focus and consistency, the culture will naturally adjust over time.
As a leader, you are responsible for your company’s culture (whether you want to or not), so create one that supports true growth.
* Study conducted by David Rooke of Harthill Consulting and William Torbert of Boston University, 2016.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2016
Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and facilitator for over 23 years; she is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. Check out her website: http://SeibCo.com. Contact Jeannette for a free, confidential conversation at http://SeibCo.com/contact .