Culture eats strategy for lunch.
~~ Peter Drucker
Business leaders reach C-Level status by developing innovative business plans, out maneuvering the competition, and shifting strategy when circumstances dictate.
Why then do so many C- Level executives achieve only marginal results – or fail out right?
Here’s the answer: It’s the “human element” – the corporate culture – that often derails potentially profitable organizations – and careers. For example, interpersonal conflicts and behaviors waste valuable time – and divert attention from your mission and the vision. Team disputes stall or sabotage key projects. Communication lapses during a crisis cause additional unnecessary complications.
Ailing corporate culture threatens the bottom line – and can challenge the leadership skills — as well as the viability — of even well established organizations.
Here’s the good news: you can transform your ailing workplace culture. And this transformation always starts with you – the leader. After all, corporate culture changes every day. It’s you – the leader – who determines the nature and direction of these changes.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Tip #1: Follow your employees. Successful corporate culture transformations always begin by paying attention to your most valuable asset – employees who show up ready to work.
Of course, the pursuit of your mission and vision — looking forward — is your top leadership priority. That’s why it’s essential to stimulate the next idea within your organization. Otherwise, your visionary goals are never reached.
Too many leaders forget: it’s what happens after you float your idea that really counts.
Ask yourself: are your employees free to shoot your ideas down? Or modify them so that “your idea” ends up a much better idea? Everyone has influence and demonstrates leadership in successful organizations — no matter what their position within the organization.
Tip #2: Set the ground rules. How individuals within organizations communicate among themselves, make decisions, and resolve conflicts are issues to tackle early on. It’s critical that everyone knows “the rules” from the onset. Otherwise, when critical situations arise, you’ll be figuring out the process – not effectively addressing the immediate problem or crisis.
As mentioned before, it’s best to hard wire “the rules” from the start. Sometimes that’s just not possible. It’s never too late, however, to train your employees – cost effectively – to improve your corporate culture. .
Tip #3: Stand apart – and just listen. How does your organization feel to a casual observer or potential customer? Ask yourself: what do people rub against when they spend time with my employees? Were those staff members really talking derisively about a client in the elevator? Does bad-mouthing of supervisors or co-workers routinely take place in full earshot of other employees and customers? Are staff conflicts played out in full view of customers?
These observations – like nothing else — alert you to immediate necessary corporate culture changes key to the survival and growth of your organization.
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