One of the biggest question marks in running and growing any team involves dealing with the amorphous nature of culture within an organization. Unlike identifying, analyzing, changing, and implementing strategy or resource decisions, people decisions are the hardest to put a finger on. They require constant pulse-checking and investment into the things that make your people tick which can, themselves, be difficult to assess. Additionally, you have to be able to juggle all that while also formulating a strategy for managing and cultivating the right workplace environment and cohesion.
Given that this is a unique, but crucial challenge for any organization, we recently asked one of our GiANT friends to give us his thoughts on Changing Leadership Culture. His response (with some edits) is worth sharing:
What is Culture?
“The one thing I am noticing is that ‘culture’ is a BIG word. It sometimes feels and seems so BIG that people often miss that it’s the people who matter most in culture. People are the culture. Their development is primary in creating and sustaining ‘culture.’ Sometimes the idea of culture can feel so mysterious and ambiguous that everyone seems to wait for it to happen instead of making it happen themselves.
I’m seeing that most have not taken the time ‘together’ – as a family, team, or organization – to define it, share it, and expect it. Culture is first and foremost about people and their personalities. People need a framework of values to share, not so that everyone will conform to a certain way of behaving, but because a commonly held framework grants the freedom to be true to themselves as well as providing a rallying cry to work for the good of each other and others.”
Hallmarks of Healthy Organizational Culture
When you boil it down, there are three major hallmarks of a healthy organizational culture:
These elements reflect a commitment to quality character, high competence, and influence wielded for the good of others. We are talking about cultivating a shift in mindset that promises responsible behavior delivered with excellence in work and an eye toward maximizing the greatest possible impact for positive transformation among employees, customers, and the broader community.
Without character, there can be no relational trust which results in failing to deliver as promised or struggling to create a positive experience for clients and employees alike (aka “lack of chemistry”). Without competence, you have no trustworthy expertise – you may be great to work with, but the quality of your product or service falls below expectations. And if you wield your influence negatively or only for selfish gain, you will not be able maintain an attractive workplace environment or brand image.
So, to sum it all up, our friend had this to say:
“Character. Competence. Influence. These three elements are crucial. If we can continue to help people ‘KNOW Themselves’ and ‘KNOW and understand each other’ Trust will build, (negative) self-preservation will fall, and people will live and lead with nothing to prove, lose, or hide.”
I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty good way to think about building culture, doesn’t it?
This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your company culture affects your leadership and organizational performance, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!