The Power of a Common Language

One of the first things people notice after rolling out a set of Fundamentals™ is how quickly the specific language of the Fundamentals™ gets interwoven into their daily vocabulary.  In fact, this almost always happens within the very first week.  How does this happen and why is the language so important?  Let’s take a closer look. An invented way of relating Many years ago, I learned a series of communication practices called The Collaborative Way, developed by a man named Lloyd Fickett.   Most of these practices, in fact, are embedded in the Fundamentals.  Lloyd used to describe the Collaborative Way …

Too much going on to tackle culture? 

“We understand how important our culture is to success, and we’d love to be more intentional and systematic about our approach, but we have so many other initiatives going on right now, that it’s just not the right time.”  Does this sound familiar to you?  It’s one of the most common responses we hear, even among truly outstanding leaders.  Let me offer some thoughts in this blog that may be helpful as you struggle to prioritize a variety of legitimately important initiatives. In Patrick Lencioni’s great book, The Advantage:  Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, he talks about …

Can We Do This On Our Own?

One of the most important questions that every business faces when contemplating a key strategic initiative is, “Can we do this on our own or should we bring in outside help?” Let me try to shed some light on that question as it relates specifically to becoming more intentional and systematic about your culture. Over the past 4+ years, I’ve delivered more than 200 workshops for nearly 3,000 CEOs and other senior executives, providing them with the roadmap for the steps necessary to institutionalize their cultures. Some of those companies have chosen to implement the process on their own, and …

Setting the Table for Success

Here’s a question I get often from companies as they begin transforming their companies through the Fundamentals process:  “We’ve figured out our Fundamentals and we’ve figured out the weekly rituals we want to practice, but how do we get our employees onboard?”  I’ll use this blog post to answer that. The Rollout There’s no question that how we roll out the program has an enormous impact on its success.  We could have the greatest set of Fundamentals and the best ideas for how to practice them, but if we simply dump them on our people with no context, it could …

Honoring Commitments

In this blog post, I’d like to provide some further insight into one of the Fundamentals that appears in every single one of our clients.  In fact, it’s one that’s so foundational to success that we practically insist that it be included.  We call it:  Honor commitments. The foundation for trust The first part of this Fundamental is the most important, and perhaps the most obvious.  Simply doing what you said you’d do, when you said you’d do it, is the basis for all successful business relationships.  It’s what allows us to function effectively – knowing that we can count on …

Measuring Performance

In my last blog post, I shared why assessing our current culture, prior to beginning our “design” work, is of surprisingly little value. However, once we’ve rolled out our Fundamentals and are beginning to practice them, assessing how we’re doing is both helpful and important. In this post, I’ll share some thoughts on conducting culture surveys. Survey design Since we define culture in terms of specific behaviors (we call them “Fundamentals”), it’s reasonably straightforward to assess our culture by measuring how we’re doing in consistently demonstrating those behaviors. In contrast, it’s far more challenging to assess our performance relative to “values,” because …

Should you assess your current culture?

A common question I get when we begin to work with a company is “Shouldn’t we do some kind of assessment of our current culture?” And given how common this question is, it’s not surprising that there are a variety of assessment tools on the market for just this purpose. While many of these tools are nicely designed, my answer to this question may surprise you. A design function When we take a company through the Fundamentals Process™ I often describe it as a “design function.” In other words, we’re designing, in an intentional way, the culture we want to …

Get clear on expectations

Get clear on expectations  As most regular readers know, I sometimes use these blog posts to share deeper insights into some of the Fundamentals that tend to find their way into many of our clients’ cultures.  Remember that “Fundamentals” is simply the word we use to describe the daily behaviors that are foundational for an organization’s culture.  When we practice these Fundamentals consistently through weekly rituals, they eventually become internalized.  In this post, I’d like to share some thoughts on one of my favorite Fundamentals.  I call it “Get clear on expectations.”  The foundation of this Fundamental is the recognition that we …

Setting people up for success – Part ll

In my last blog post, I talked about integration – the process by which we get new hires started and assimilated – and explained why this process is so critical to success.  In this post, I’ll share some tips on how to get started in building a world-class integration program in your own company. Start small and be consistent One mistake I frequently see is a company starting out too ambitiously.  They design a fabulous integration program, but it’s too much effort and requires too many resources and so after a few times, they start short-changing it, or sometimes even …

Setting people up for success – Part l

 As most readers know, we use the 8-step framework as a way to organize the steps necessary to intentionally create, drive, and sustain a high performing culture.  In the next two posts, I’d like to explore the fourth of those steps – – integration.  Integration is the word we use for what some companies call “orientation” or others call “on-boarding.”  It describes the process by which you take a new recruit and bring them into your company.  I prefer to use the word “integration” because it implies that you’re assimilating the new person or making them an integral part of your …