Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone on your team just did what was needed, with the highest quality and most conscientious attitude, meeting/exceeding customer, vendor and co-worker expectations – every time? And they did it because they wanted to?
Performance excellence is not a dream, but a reality – for some companies. Process and best practices are not enough. Tools and technology cannot do it alone. The value a business provides is a by-product of these important areas but is delivered through their people’s execution. And getting people to follow the best practices and processes, to use the tools and technology properly, is central to consistently excellent performance.
Doug Diamond, a business improvement expert, conducted a survey to show the impact culture development has on organizations. He found that culture annihilates strategy every time. He compared the results of the survey participants and shared his insights into company culture, how it applies to organizations, and areas to improve. Consider that an excellent strategy poorly executed elicits poor results. But a mediocre strategy, perfectly executed gets results, and many times, great results. People make a strategy work – or fail – through their diligence in execution. Strong cultures where everyone believes in the mission and vision of the company, and values each other and the clients will execute better than their counterparts every time.
How to build a strong culture?
1. Start with your Core Values. These are derived from the organization, not put upon it. Core Values bubble up from the organization, and are the attributes that the aggregate team hold in highest regard. Violation is not tolerated – or shouldn’t be! When the Core Values are strong, the team knows what to expect. They know who fits, and who doesn’t. They are better able to navigate the myriad decisions they face on their own, without the need of management oversight. They become the corporate guard rails of conduct and behavior. From this framework, your team build trust in one another. They know what to expect and what will not be tolerated. Team work can grow as trust builds.
2. Set a very clear Vision for the organization. How do you see the organization as it achieves great success? Make sure everyone knows this vision and has buy-in. Visions are not financial results, either. They should grab the heart and soul of your team. This rarely changes, as the vision is directional, not a result.
3. Set a clear mission for the team to follow. This should guide them at a high level in their decisions. Again, not financial results. Missions should last many years, but can be attained in some way. You can realize the achievement of a mission. And missions can change over time.
Once defined, the top leadership should evangelize and defend these three areas with the greatest diligence. These guiding principles are the foundation of excellent organizations. A lack of clarity in these areas will result in inconsistent results- at best.
How has culture development improved your business?