Last week we looked at maintaining consistency between your mission statement and daily execution; dealing with unexpected changes in your business; the importance of transparency; and the need for each employee to uphold corporate values. This week, we’ll look at six more culture building practices:
- Hold management accountable: Empower everyone to protect your corporate culture. Create an environment that is safe for employees to raise concerns, voice opinions and challenge threats to your strategy. Test management’s ability to withstand challenges and put away the egos. Common vision means we all want the same thing: To maintain corporate culture and insure the ongoing success of the company. The best decisions are made through open dialogue and exploration of diverse ideas.
- Set yourself up for success: In every project, business commitment, or customer engagement, set yourself up for success. If you don’t believe you can take on the work without compromising your corporate values and quality of outcome, then restructure the project, the approach, or turndown the business. Strive to make death marches a thing of the past. Nothing is more demoralizing then being set-up to lose.
- Be willing to make hard decisions: You’ve found the perfect candidate from a skills and experience perspective. You’ve been looking to fill this position for months but the candidate is not a cultural fit. Do you hire them? Alternatively, the deal-of-a-lifetime has presented itself. You can take on the work but an aggressive “go-live” date means you will have to burn-out several key contributors and maybe even sacrifice some quality on delivery. Do you take on the business? Every time you make a decision that doesn’t support your culture and values you widen the gap.
- Raise the bar: Never settle for “Good-Enough.” Whether it’s you products, your people, solutions, service, or corporate strategy, set the expectation and demand excellence. Every individual in the company should be empowered to expose and eliminate mediocrity.
- Create awareness: From the individual to the board of directors, being aware of how actions, interactions, and decisions impact people and culture is key to success. Make awareness habitual; remind yourself and your organization to ask repeatedly, “How does this impact our peers and employees, the quality of our products and services, or our reputation with our customers or market place? Do the decisions and actions we make support our corporate culture and values?”
- Don’t panic: There are many things that can force an individual or organization to panic: Changing economic times, a set-back on a project, a challenging customer, or the everyday demands of the business. It’s in the midst of these pressures that people most often panic and revert to their old bad habits. Don’t panic. Take a step back. Look at the problem in the context of your corporate culture and values and take action accordingly.
People and Principles Come First
Valuing your corporate culture has to be systemic. It has to be a strategic objective and it has to be reinforced with people and systems that insure culture is preserved. Both the company and the people need to invest in and commit to maintaining the culture. Will you be challenged to break old habits? Sure. Will you have to be reminded from time to where your cultural “true north” is? Absolutely, but building culture into the way you do business means you have checks and balances that allow people to correct course before it damages what you value most…your People.
Does your organization “walk the walk” when it comes to corporate culture? What practices have worked best for your company?
Photo Credit: thomas nicot