The yellow brick road to positive organisational culture
[4 min read]
How adopting these 3 leadership personas will motivate your employees.
It is an undeniable fact that culture impacts every aspect of a business. It affects customer service, reputation, absenteeism, employee motivation and turnover, ability to acquire great talent, and many other areas.
Forward thinking organisations create and sustain a culture that engages and motivates their employees. They understand that when the culture isn’t strong, more effort needs to be placed in controlling employees, monitoring their behaviour and keeping them working as efficiently as possible. Engaging employees in companies with a good work culture is much easier because they all know what needs to be done, why and how, and they work together to achieve it. When everyone from senior management down are rewarding behaviours that contribute positively to the culture, it becomes deeply embedded in the company.
Sadly, only 12% of executives believe their companies are driving the ‘right culture’, and less than a third report that even though they know that their organisation’s culture is important, they don’t understand it. (Deloitte)
Culture trumps strategy every time, and one could even argue that culture in fact is more important than strategy. Following are a few interesting statistics:
- 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success (Deloitte)
- Employees’ overall ratings of their company’s qualities — like collaboration, work environment, and mission and value alignment — are 20% higher at companies with strong cultures (CultureIQ)
- 13 companies that have appeared on Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list every year since beginning also see higher average annual returns, with cumulative returns as high as 495% instead of 170% for Russel 3000 and 156% for S&P 500)
- Companies with strong cultures saw a fourfold increase in revenue growth (Forbes)
- Being named a Best Place to Work is associated with a 0.75% stock jump (Glassdoor)
“Changing culture starts with changing behaviours!” ~ Martin Probst
The yellow brick road to positive organisational culture starts with fostering an environment that nurtures:
- Social & cultural awareness
- And much more
With this approach, we create a safe and supportive space for innovation, growth and excellence. Building a positive organisational culture is about giving your team space to live to their full potential and bring their ideas alive. This empowers individuals to not only create accountability for their own performance, but furthermore for the outcome of the entire team.
A good day at work is not ‘getting through the day’. A good day is not ‘it can only get better’. A good day is one:
- where individuals know they make a difference,
- where they feel that they matter,
- that they belong, and
- can contribute
Fostering a supportive and motivating environment can be achieved by embodying the following 3 “leadership personas”:
Persona #1: Chief Meaning Officer
Implementing (or improving) a positive organisational culture starts with everybody being clear on the company vision, and aligning mission, goals and tasks accordingly. Every employee in the organisation should know what the company wants to achieve, but these organisational goals should also align with their own individual goals. This is an important fact that is often overlooked; it is not enough for employees to do their tasks because “that’s just my job” or “I need to make money somehow”.
Plus, if you want to take it a step further even, you must acknowledge that truly exceptional businesses have a purpose beyond profit.
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
~ Nelson Mandela
As the ‘Chief Meaning Officer’:
- Let the people around you know where you and the organisation are going
- WHY you’re going there; and most importantly
- What’s in it for them to go there with you and the organisation
Managers often like to talk about where they’re going and why they’re going there. But they always leave out the third thing: they forget that people in today’s fast-moving economy and environment secretly crave for certainty, comfort and sameness. You can cater to these needs by being the ‘Chief Meaning Officer’ and making sure your team members understand why you’re going where you’re going, and give meaning to every one of them, so they know exactly what’s in it for them.
Persona #2: Chief Sweeping Officer
Structure and planning are vital parts of every successful individual, team and organisation. As they say rightfully: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
But to be clear: don’t overwhelm people with more forms, more policies & procedures and more ‘Send to ALL’ emails. Instead, have structure and planning in place that makes jobs more efficient and more effective which in turn has an immensely positive effect on morale and employee motivation. Get rid of clutter instead of drowning your team members in countless rules and processes, essentially stopping them from achieving anything. Support your team by eliminating obstacles, barriers and meaningless timewasters, and thus improve their efficiency and job satisfaction.
You might be familiar with ‘Curling’, a typical Swiss sport on ice with the guy and his broom. The one who has to sweep the stuff that’s in the way so his team members can push the stone in a straight line over the ice, ‘smack-bang’ into the middle of the target on the other side of the rink.
That’s leadership: smoothing the path to exceptional organisational culture! Become the ‘Chief Sweeping Officer’ and get rid of stumbling blocks, so your team can act and DO things and achieve their goals more easily and effortlessly.
Persona #3: Chief Fun Officer
Organisations with a positive corporate culture need generous leaders. There is no room for jealousy, greed, bitterness or envy. Inspirational leaders need to let go of these attributes, and instead love and enjoy peoples’ success!
Start focusing on the small victories that we all have, rather than looking for mistakes. Celebrate every single victory no matter how big or small. Surely, you can find a reason to bring in cake every single day. Why have a meeting if you can have a party? Remember: Small victories lead to big victories over time…
Work should be fun! And your job as a leader is to make it exciting. Don’t be a grinch; and if you are, slap yourself and think of how you can make every day’s work more enjoyable. Become the ‘Chief Fun Officer’ and you will realise that life is so much easier and enjoyable. Not just for yourself but also for the people around you.
These 3 leadership personas should lead you in the right direction when it comes to building a positive company culture. Remember, as always, it is not what you do once in a while that shapes your organisational culture. It is what you do consistently.
“Dare to make a difference!” #WeMakeItEasy #LeadershipSkills
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Martin Probst - CEO (Chief Education Officer)
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