There is a challenge, that most of the companies face today. This challenge is all connected with people productivity and results. Trying to run faster in a fast-paced and changing world, companies leadership team more often talk about culture and its impacts on employee performance. You can hear Business and HR Leaders, discussing the topic, giving evidence on how they measure the culture and even how they improve it, to ensure sustainable, as they call it, growth.
But at the end of the day what really matters to the investors and main stakeholders are the numbers. They see companies as numbers, as a graphic with deviations from the zero. That is the hard truth. And whoever wants to say something different will face the ugly truth.
Although, the company talks so much on culture because they see it as the glue that helps reach results. There is a one-week point in the culture talk, company leaders use It believing that discussing the topic more and more will lead to better results. But the one thing they miss is the focus on the main elements in the culture framework – mission and vision.
When starting a new business, or changing thinking, in line with changing the environment, companies leadership teams set mission and vision that they think are most appropriate to achieve results and ensure sustainable growth.
But before you can be sure that your culture framework will lead you to the results you want to achieve, you must first be sure that it points to the people and after that to the numbers you want.
Several years ago I have worked with a sales company owner, who wanted to grow the numbers in the sheets. His focus was on the numbers and he has made it first priority to achieve them on any price. His people were taught that the only thing that matters was the numbers and it is up to them to achieve the goals at any price. In contrast to that this same guy has published its company mission as one pointing to people’s differences and needs and the high level of tolerance, поставяйки results in a second place. This contrast has led him to lose people working with the company for 5+ years and generate high turnover within the newly hired people.
When he called me for help within this situation he sounded worried, but still not on the people, but on the numbers in the sheets. I started working with him and his company and only 5 months after that we had a completely new company mission and vision, supported by real actions.
And that all was possible only because the CEO of the company was ready to accept change and discuss what it really means to follow mission and vision and use them as a tool to boost peoples accountability to ensure results.
High performing culture is in line with the company mission and values, acts to fulfill them in reality and is based on values, supporting them.
Before you build or rebuild your culture to ensure the high performance you will need to look at some basic factors and go through several basic steps:
Analyze the current mission statement
What you need to do here is divide the mission statement into words and phrases and look for evidence from your company daily activities that support or reject that statement or words. Try to find as many real actions that support the words and phrases in the mission. Set a minimum limit of evidence that will help you define if the word or phrase is really connecting mission statement to reality.
Analyze current company vision
While vision answers the question of HOW we do things? You will need to analyze the activities and how they compare to established and values. You can use the same approach as with the mission, just divide the vision to words and phrases and compare them with the actions your employees must go through to fulfill the mission and grow personal and company results.
Analyze company current values
Values are an essential part of the question of HOW you do things for success. If they differ from reality then they are more likely to position as blockers for the processes or just be nice pictures and words hanging on the wall. That is why you also need to access values. Start by taking the first value with the behaviors it prescribes and looks for evidence in the company everyday life. Set again a minimum of actions that you need to find to confirm that the behavior, respectfully the value is relevant to the current situation in the company. When you finish with the first, continue with next values with the same approach. After you finish the process you will have a clear picture of how the company values and behaviors they represent compare to company mission, vision and reality.
Present results and agree on changes
You’ve done it. After all the hard work your analysis is done, your findings are clear. Now prepare for the hardest part – present them to the senior leadership team and get their accountability and support to ensure real change will happen. After you ensure support from this high-level group moves to the employees bellow them. Explain to all groups in details what your findings are and what you plan to implement as a plan to change the current situation.
Form a culture change team
People want to make a change, but often they don’t know how to make it and that leads to a dead end. To change a culture you need strong personalities representing the culture specifics you want to implement. Find them from all company levels and involve them in the process. First, involve the senior leadership team to rewrite the company mission, then move to the middle-level leadership team to establish vision statement and then fill in all the values with content coming from mid-level leadership and employees engaged with operational work. Still, after the hard work, you will need to tell your change team that the final word is one of the company owner or CEO. Stimulate your team to put effort and be accountable in the process and make them understand that the work they do will change the status quo for good. Your team is now the new team of value champions, the people who will be the live example of the values and cultural framework you want to implement.
Communicate carefully, fully and gratefully
Well, you’ve almost done it. It is now only the communication task on the table. If you think this is the easiest part then you are wrong. Communicating with others change in behavior is the hardest task. That is why you need to focus more here. To communicate new values and behaviors means not only to share them and explain them through everyday work but also connect them to the company mission and vision. To succeed here, you will need to link every value and behavior it contains a specific word or phrase in the refurbished or recreated company mission and vision. That and only that will guarantee you that people will understand, accept them and transform their energy to full accountability to direct their performance for higher results and achievements.
A high-performance culture is a complex product, based on several major milestones in each company. If you want to build one you will need to move out from the numbers I the sheets and look at the impact the number creators, aka, the employees can make through their actions. That and only that will ensure you not only high performance but also better retention and sustainable growth.