By Rob Wolff, Vice President
Think of your best employees, the ones that you’d like to clone. We all have these people on our teams, and there are usually people whom we used to work with that we’d also like to clone and put on our teams. Usually there are only certain aspects of those people that we want to clone. One person is incredible at follow-up, while someone else is really great at developing long-term, trusting relationships with customers. A completely different person comes to work every day with a fantastic attitude – full of positive energy that radiates to everyone around her. What if we could take each of the individual elements that those people excelled at and squeeze them into one person – boy wouldn’t that be a Super-Employee?!
Let’s go one better… what if we could take all of those great strengths that people have and empower everyone with them? That’s what a strong, intentional approach to managing culture actually does. As regular readers of this blog know, we don’t define culture as a keg in the break room or free pizza Fridays. Those are perks – they don’t define or create your culture. We look at culture as being “the way things are done around here.” The way our teammates work with each other, the way that we work with clients – even the way we work with vendors and suppliers is what describes and defines our culture. It’s the behaviors that drive the culture.
Some business leaders don’t want to take the time to work on culture because there are too many business priorities and opportunities that take precedence. It’s almost as if the thought process is along the lines of “forget the touchy-feely employee engagement stuff – we have real work to get done.” What these leaders fail to recognize is that the focus of culture IS the work that needs to get done. Far from being “touch-feely”, creating a strong culture means creating an environment where you’re developing an army of those Super Employees.
Following are just a few of the behaviors that can help define a culture:
- Act with Integrity
- Take Ownership
- Go the Extra Mile
- Pay Attention to the Details
Imagine if you will, the impact on your business if, next week, every person in your company did absolutely everything within her or his power from Monday morning through Friday afternoon to Go the Extra Mile in everything that they touch and do. (We define Going the Extra Mile as doing everything that you have to do, plus a little bit more.) Imagine the level of customer satisfaction, the number of errors avoided, the level of advance preparation. Imagine how many problems would be avoided, and how much rework would be avoided. Then what happens to that extra time or those extra resources that would have been spent addressing the problems or handling the rework?
Taking the time and effort (which isn’t much by the way, if you have the right assistance) to create a clear, well-defined culture is in fact a Force Multiplier. A force multiplier allows you to accomplish more work with the same amount of effort. By identifying behaviors that will lead to greater levels of success, and then coaching and training your entire team to enhance their skill and proficiency on those behaviors, you can create enormous capacity to accommodate more work, or you can accomplish the same amount of work with fewer resources. Take any of the behaviors mentioned above and consider the impact if everyone on your team could master it each and every day. What if everyone on your team could master them all? Add in a few more that would drive impact to your business, and the end result is a team that would absolutely dominate your market. Clearly, it doesn’t happen overnight, and it may not be practical to assume that everyone will “master” all of the behaviors that define your culture, but even getting everyone moving in that direction would have an outsized impact on your daily activities and results.
Approached the right way, culture is a far cry from “touch-feely.” Those leaders who use the need to create a greater focus on taking advantage of opportunities and on improving the business as an excuse for not working on culture are, in fact, losing out in the long run.
If you’d like to learn more about how the Fundamentals System™ can help you to build a high-performing culture, click the button below.