There is this thing that it is called ‘CULTURE’! It is usually being used in the context of ‘how people doing things together’. In a professional environment this is meant to be the ‘Company Culture’. The company culture should be represented by and built upon defined ‘VALUES’ and those are an important element of the brand building process of today’s enterprises. Brand building is very important or even crucial as it mainly determines the recognition and perception of the company by customers, prospects, potential employees and the society in general. And as the brand is build from the products of that enterprise plus what the enterprise stands for, its ‘VALUES’, hence, the ‘CULTURE’ is absolutely KEY for the enterprise. Sounds complex? It is complex!
So, when ‘CULTURE’ is so important, what does it take to build one? If we look around and walking through the companies aisles and halls we always see this impressive posters with value statements, promises and commitments to what they will do and behave like. That’s great but it often sucks at the same time. Why? Because it’s great that companies have looked at it but they did build it for the wrong purpose. The purpose should be to build a common understanding of the ‘PURPOSE’. Simon Sinek once called it the “WHY?”. WHY are we here? Why are we doing what we’re doing? What is the deeper sense of it? WHY is it not only about to make a few people rich? These questions (and more of the same kind) today’s employees want to have answered properly. Unfortunately, too often VALUES are only defined for sake of having them rather than to really live the ‘PURPOSE’ and to make sure that employees do understand the “WHY” which allows them behave accordingly.
‘Leading by example’ is a proven leadership behavior in today’s world. And it makes perfect sense as employees are asking their leaders “Why should I do what you want me to do if you don’t do it yourself?” (I know, it’s not that easy but in general that’s reality). Assuming that the strength of a request or an expectation is significantly stronger when I as leader do what I ask my team to do, then this requires a lot of engagement from me as a leader. If don’t value the VALUES then why should any of my team members should? There is no (meaningful) reason for it. Of course, I could force them. But that only would last for a certain period of time. It is not sustainable but sustainability, long term relationships; long-term market leadership etc. is what I want. As a meaningful leader I would go into my times and speak with them frequently in order to understand whether they are still aligned. It may does sound like ‘too much to do’ but it doesn’t work without it. There is no doubt!
That’s it basically! You don’t need to have more than a committed ‘LEADER’ and ‘VALUES’ that describe the ‘PURPOSE’ in the beginning. This is the easy part even though many of you now would complain saying “I have so many challenges to convince my management that we need to change!” Granted! It’s a challenge indeed. But, if it is so difficult and hard to convince your Management to change their behavior, is it the best company for you to work for? Or you may re-think your approach on how to convince your management? (The answers to those questions are just another blog post 😉
Let’s assume you work for a company which Management understands that. And even more, you’ve been able to introduce both the ‘VALUES’ and the ‘PURPOSE’ and your management is totally convinced about it. Once this has been established it’s all about constant and continuous execution. You might start laughing but now you’re in front of your next challenge: Colleagues! Because you definitely find colleagues complaining about it. Moaning that the whole exercise is not worth the paper and the ink it’s printed on and with. They might respond like “Please, don’t bother me with such sh**, I just wanna do my job here”. Or they respond positively but do think that way. However, in such a situation the only thing that counts is to find people who do share your passion, who do have the same attitude and who fully live and work for the ‘WHY’. A successful implementation requires a group of likeminded people in order to create that momentum or the dynamics that are necessary to carry an initiative. This, by the way, counts for all change initiatives. And these initiatives itself, or better, the fact that there are people who drive these initiatives is already part of a ‘CULTURE’. The moment you start it off you are creating a ‘CULTURE’.
The main reason for finding and building that group of likeminded people is to ensure that the idea behind the ‘VALUES’ and ‘PURPOSE’ is understood and that even more importantly that the majority of the employees has the trust in it that allows them to behave accordingly. This is the most important point! That is the dynamic at the end that determines the ‘CULTURE’. People do what they’re allowed to do, or even stronger: People do what they’re expected to do in the most positive sense.
And what happens to all the ‘don’t bother me’ people? Once you have received a certain number of supportive and like-minded people you shouldn’t bother about them. There are other dynamics kicking in which make that those people either don’t disturb or get ignored or leave the company. Again, that just happens because of the dynamics.