Your Company Culture is Your Team Machine
Understanding ways to increase overall business performance
Ways to Develop Your Organization with Succession Planning
Your Company Culture is Your Team Machine
As each employee is being asked to do more and teams are ripe for stress and overwhelm, it is especially important to create an environment that fosters team work and employee productivity. There is no room for drama. And, whether you are aware of it or not, your company has a culture, a culture that is working for you or against. It has been designed strategically by your leaders or spontaneously by your team.
This webinar examines the important why's of creating a company culture that supports your business goals and will provide the first steps to fixing your malfunctioning team machine.
In this webinar, you will learn:
- Strategic Reasons for Designing a Corporate Culture with Intention
- Clues that Indicate Whether you have a Malfunctioning Team Machine
- 5 Basic Culture Types
- How your Leaders Play a Key Role in Shaping a Culture either Accidentally or on Purpose
- 5 Keys to Creating a Dynamic Company Culture that Gets You Great Team Results
Monster would like to thank Kirsten Ross for presenting this webinar.
Kirsten E. Ross, SPHR, MLIR
Leadership & HR Coach
Focus Forward Coaching
Kirsten E. Ross, MLIR, SPHR is President of Focus Forward Coaching, LLC. She brings a unique blend of energy, insight and compassion to her work with clients as a Leadership and HR Coach. She will help you transform your leadership and your relationships, create a drama-free work zone, enhanced customer loyalty and skyrocketing profits.
Her education and experience includes a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management, Senior Human Resource Certification, the Coach Training Alliance curriculum and more than 20 years of hands-on Human Resource experience working with leaders and teams.
Kirsten is the author of a variety of books and articles and has been interviewed as an expert for media such as: NBC Nightly News, Fox 2 News, National Public Radio and for publications such as Working Mother Magazine and Fitness Magazine. She is an experienced speaker who will add inspiration and fun to any event infusing humor and self-awareness activities that keep audiences entertained. Participants will walk away with the targeted action plans and the motivation to impact their lives and work.
Webinar Transcript: Your Company Culture is Your Team Machine
Good luck and good afternoon everyone. I'm Randi Alterman, a marketing director here at Monster, and I'd like to thank you for joining us today for this exclusive webinar hosted by Monster Intelligence. Today, we're going to discuss your culture and your team machine. In this Monster Intelligence webinar, we're joined by Kirsten Ross, President of Focus Forward Consulting. Attendees of this webinar are going to learn about ways to increase their overall business performance.
Before we get started, I just have a few housekeeping items I'd like to remind people. The presentation and a copy of today's recording will be posted on hiring.monster.com within two to three business days. Click on the Resources tab and go to HR events. All participants will receive an email with a direct link to today's materials. Monster Intelligence provides insight to help HR professionals improve their recruiting success, accelerate worker performance, and retain top talent. We analyze and collect data from over 4 million unique job searches that are performed on Monster each and every day. We invite you to visit hiring.monster.com and read some of our other in-depth reports analysis, all located under the Resources tab.
There will be time after the presentation for some questions and answers and our meeting manager will help facilitate that Q&A. At any time, please feel free to type in your questions in the available space, and we'll try to include it in the Q&A session. Additionally, if you're getting your audio through your phone, as you just heard, you are placed on mute until the Q&A session begins.
All right, I'd like to introduce today's speaker. Kirsten Ross is President of Focus Forward Coaching. She brings a unique blend of energy, insight, and compassion for our work with clients as a leadership and HR coach. She helps transform leadership and relationships by creating a drama-free work zone, which enhances customer loyalty and sky rockets profits. Her education experience includes a master's degree in human resource management, Senior Human Resource Certification, the coach training alliance [person?], and more than 20 years of hands-on human resource experience with leaders and with teams. She's the author of a variety of books and articles and has been interviewed as an expert for many multimedia organizations. She's an experienced speaker who will add inspiration and fun to any event, including humor and self-awareness activities that keep audiences entertained. Kirsten, I'd like to turn the webinar over to you.
Thank you so much. I am so excited to be here today. Believe it or not, this is one of my favorite topics to talk about. I am passionate about helping companies excel and having teams work well together, and that's what I get to talk about today. So thanks for coming.
I am going to kick it off by having you guys do a little bit of work, and we're going to do just a quick poll, and just one little quick question. Does your company have a culture, yes or no? And as you're answering this question, I'm going to have you think about a couple things. Is creating a good culture only about enjoyable work, and do you have an impact on the culture in your company?
So they're just a couple things to think about as we get started. It'll help me see where we're at and how much selling I need to do versus teaching. The poll has ended, so we're going to get our results here in a second, and we're going to be talking about culture going forward obviously. And yes. Okay, good [chuckles]. Ninety-two percent of you do believe that you currently have a culture, and I'm not going to ask you whether that culture is working for you or not. We're going to just give you some strategies going forward. Here we go.
Okay, so to really simplify everything, in your business you make things happen with tools and equipment, materials, and people. I know that's a very simplified version of how you make things happen. In your team, your people use the tools and equipment and materials as an extension of you as their leaders. And this picture, I chose because really when you're adding people, you're adding hands, legs, heads to the process and ideally, they're going to become a collaborative, coordinated extension of you.
This picture made me think of a game that I used to play when I was a child and maybe some of you have played it as well. Have you ever done the game where you stand there and another person stands behind you, and pretends their arms are your arms? And you might sing I'm a little tea pot or you might sing a song or tell a story. And for the audience watching that happen, it's really hilarious because, very often, the person who's trying to be your arms, it's not very well coordinated, and it can be really funny as they try to anticipate what you're going to say so that they can have the appropriate arm movements. But in your business, when your team isn't very well coordinated, it's not all that funny and that's what can happen if your team is not good extension of you as a leader.
So when you purchase your tools and equipment, I'm almost positive that all of you in your organization see that as an investment. So you begin by defining company needs. You say, "Why do we need this piece of equipment? What do we need it to do? Where is it going to fit?" You figure out all that stuff.
Let's use just a really simple example of a copy machine. You might ask how much room do we have for it? How much does it cost to replace the ink? How many sheets of paper do we need it to hold? How quickly do we need it to copy? Those are some of the things that you're going to look at. Then you're going to go out and find the best quality for the price. So can we get some free shipping? Is there going to be some maintenance built in? Where can we get a really good deal on this piece of equipment? And then you're going to integrate that resource into your system. You're going to figure out where it goes, who's going to use it, and then you're going to treat it with care because you've made this investment and you want to achieve its highest productivity and longevity. You want to make it last a long time, and you might even discipline an employee who you see abusing it some way such as kicking it, punching it, head-butting it, or whatever people sometimes do with a copy machine when they get frustrated. So you want to make sure that everyone is treating it with care, so that your investment is handled well.
Well, when you're hiring your team, now some of you may already do this, but I know a lot of my clients haven't really thought of as hiring their team in terms of an investment, and if you look at the data, hiring your team when you lose a seasoned employee, research shows that it can take at least one-and-half times their salary, if not more to replace that person. So once you're bringing someone in, there's the cost of the whole hiring process, but also the lost productivity, which is you don't have a seasoned person there and the learning curve and the training that goes into that person.
So, absolutely, when you're hiring your team, I really hope that you're seeing it as an investment, and I'm hoping that you're going to use the same process, that it begins with defining the company needs. What do you need this person to do and what are the required features? Now, what skills and abilities do they have? What kind of behaviors? Are you paying attention to their personality and how that will fit, either in the culture that you have or the culture that you're trying to create? And then you're going to find the best quality for the price.
Now with people, it's not quite the same as equipment because salary is one part of the price to hire someone, but the cool thing that they're also going to be looking at is their room for growth. What is the culture like? So that fun culture we hinted about earlier, that becomes part of someone's compensation. Can I come to work and have a good time and get a lot done and really feel a part of something bigger than myself? That becomes part of the compensation. And you're going to integrate that resource into your system.
Now when we talk about people, that system really is a culture. Where are they going to sit? What department? Who are they going to report to? Who are their co-workers? Who are they going to be aligning within the organization? The truth is, if you're not doing this with your team member, your employees absolutely are. They are integrating them into group norms or the culture. Then you want to treat that new person with care to achieve the highest productivity and longevity. You want to make sure that they want to stay working for you because again, you've made an investment in them. Whether you are aware or not which I'm much happy to see that most of you are aware of your your team does have a culture and that culture is creating the results that you want or they are creating other results.
If your team is not integrated, if they don't know what's expected of them, if they're not working well together, if you're allowing the culture to be created spontaneously, you probably don't have the culture that supports the outcome that your company is trying to achieve.
I want to give you two examples of two financial institutions in my area. I am in the Detroit, Michigan area. One of them will remain nameless, then the other one is Flagstar Bank, which is, I think, a fairly local bank. So we have the first financial institution, a credit union, and my two boys, I think they're pretty cute. I have two cute little boys and ever since they were born, they've been a member of this particular credit union. And every year, the leaders in that credit union have decided to invest money in sending all the children who have accounts there a birthday post card where they invite you to come into the branch and they get to scoop state coins out of a little fish bowl and then they put that amount of money into their account. Both of my boys actually have August birthdays, so it's something that they get to do together and it's become a tradition for us.
I'm assuming the results that when they're investing and all the time and money involved in doing that, the results that they want are that people will continue to have their accounts with this credit union and that their membership will grow. I'm sure that's the results that they wanted.
Well, a couple of years ago, we went, and again, my two cute little boys and I walk in and we were the only ones in the branch. There were about seven tellers working, and we were behind the rope and those signs said to wait until you were called, so we stood there patiently, and three tellers were talking amongst themselves and would look up, and then two or three other tellers were just sitting at their windows looking down.
We stood there, and we stood there, and we stood there, and no one would talk to us. Finally, one of them looked up and begrudgingly said, "I will help you over here." So my two cute little boys rushed over with their postcards and handed them to the woman who then said, "I'll come around," and we went through the process of her counting out the change and everything, and there was no like, "How cute," or no, "Happy birthday," nothing. And what that told them was that they're not very important, and what that told me because I love to pay attention to customer service and culture was that the leadership had not paid intentional focus to the kind of culture that they were creating. I think that they were actually in a competition to who could not wait on us. I think that maybe one of the tellers probably feel like never waiting on a customer. So, they had a little standoff going on.
That is not where you want your focus, when you have any kind of customer coming into your business. So, that's my one example.
The other example is Flagstar Bank. They have dropped everything service. This company absolutely has paid intentional focus on the culture that they're creating. So, you could never accidentally create a culture like they have. And, guess where my two little boys keep their money? And this is by their request. They said, "Mom, when I get my birthday money, I want to take it to Flagstar." And that's because when they go in there, we're treated like rock stars.
They know our names, they very often have cookies for my boys. At Halloween, one of the tellers always packs little goodie bags for each of them, and they love it there. Is it about the interest rates that we're getting? No, it's about the service that we're getting. But Flagstar Bank, when they trade or drop everything service, they have to infiltrate that entire culture into everything that they do to make that happen. They have to pay attention to make sure that they only hire people who have a heart to serve. I'm sure it's included in all of their training and in how they reward and what they focus on as leaders. They're very intentional about creating.
Between the two, again, the banking itself, there's no difference, but the experience comes from the culture. Some of you probably aren't in service industries and even if you're in manufacturing, you still have customers and so you still want your culture to be supporting, creating, and manufacturing in a way that everyone is thinking about your customers.
So, your culture is your team machine and like any other machine, it's either working efficiently or it has a lot of malfunctions. Malfunctioning teams are not inevitable, but they are common. I can tell you that 100 percent of the clients that I start working with start by giving me excuses for why their culture has to be the way it is. They feel like they have some unique situation, "Well, we're a small company."I've had a four-person company say, "We're a small company and it has to be this way." I've had a 750-employee company say, "We're a small company. It has to be this way," or, "That's just the way our industry is." But the truth is it doesn't have to be that way.
I'm going to give you another example. I don't know how many of you watch the World Cup, but France was supposed to do really, really well in the World Cup just a month ago, and they take years preparing for this big event that happened. And that team completely fell apart. Their coach was screaming at them during halftime. They had a trainer quit last minute. Then they ended up failing miserably. Now, did the skill sets for these world class athletes suddenly diminish? Absolutely not. It was the culture of that team to no longer support them in winning at soccer. They couldn't coordinate. They couldn't focus. There was too much focused on all the in-fighting, and I don't even know what at all was going on with their team, but the focus was no longer on stopping their opponent the team they were playing from scoring and then scoring themselves which is the only two things that they really needed to focus on.
And now I want to give you a couple of hints, so you can determine whether or not you might have some issues going on with your culture. And I first want to just read you this little story. It's really quick and you may have heard it before, but it just illustrates what can happen if you don't have a good culture where everyone knows what's expected and they're going to take responsibility for just making it happen.
This is a story about four people named everybody, somebody, anybody, and nobody. There is an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended that, Everybody blamed Somebody and Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
Some of you maybe aren't laughing. You're thinking that that's a little too close to home. But let's look at I'm just going to read through these quickly and if you printed off the one-page handout for the webinar, you can go ahead and just mark the ones that you experienced on that sheet. But [inaudible] quickly.
People who are otherwise resourceful seem unable to overcome obstacles, so there's this constant, "Well, I didn't have time. I couldn't get to it." People complain about a lack of cooperation. This could be from co-workers in the same department or cross departments, maybe your purchasing department is constantly fighting with your receivables. People frequently ask for support and help, escalating issues to move things along. I can't deal directly with my co-worker in another department or in my department. I have to instead go above and talk to that person's boss and try to get them in trouble to get them to move if I want to help my customer. People warn others. That's not how we do things here. People hesitate to commit to timelines when they must rely on others in the organization, or people say aspects of a culture like people don't say what they really think. There are reasons for roadblocks. So does any of that sound familiar in your organization?
Let's go over now, how is a culture formed? If you want to be intentional about transforming the culture of your organization, so it helps you more efficiently and effectively, meet the needs of your customers and create the outcome, whatever those are for your organization, whether it's the number of new sales or the manufacturing output or the quality or safety whatever that is for your company.
So the first thing is that leaders create experiences. Every day as a leader, you're creating experiences for your employees. And some of the experiences, your employees are creating beliefs about the organization, about what's important for the organization, about what's tolerable, about what will be rewarded, what will get you into trouble, and our beliefs drive our behaviors, actions, and decisions. And those behaviors, actions, and decisions create results for the organization. So for instance, if leaders in your organization or maybe you put a lot of emphasis on blame, your employees, if they constantly experience that it's most important to figure out who messed up than to fix the issue, then your employees will believe that that's most important, and they will put their emphasis on assigning blame versus fixing problems. Let's use another example.
Let's say I'm in a meeting, and I voice my opinion in the meeting, and I get a defensive response from my manager. She says, "We're not going to deal with that right now." My belief would probably be that leaders within this organization don't want to hear my voice, and so in the future, even if I see some issue that might cost the company a lot of money or make it more difficult for us to produce for our customers, I'm going to stay silent, because I don't want to stick my neck out.
And the results is that, we just keep doing everything the way we do it. There's no opportunity for process improvement. There's no opportunity to learn from our employees.
On the flip side, if I see an error that could cost the company a lot of money. and I let a coworker know and say, "Hey, let's fix this," and then the president hears about it and sends me a thank-you email, and then publicly shows his appreciation for me, now my belief is that, "Wow! I can stick my neck out. They appreciate it when I look for ways to do things better." Now my actions are different and the results are different from the organization. You have a group of employees where the culture is all about fixing things, making it better, speaking up, and working, and solving problems.
I will tell you too that negative experiences within the organization last longer and go further. So if you have a leader who is a tyrant or who gets really mad, and goes through the office screaming and yelling at employees, that information is going to be shared very quickly through your team. And it will be infiltrated through your culture and it'll become a group norm, and folklore. You can actually replace all of your employees, but if you leave the same leadership there, that folklore will continue and you will end up with the same exact culture.
I will now go over five basic culture categories, and again if you downloaded the one page feed, you can follow along and mark. Maybe you have a couple of these, you might have a combination one, or one very strongly in your organization.
So the first one is complacency, and I also like to call this the silo culture. So this is where every employee has their blinders on and they only know their one little small piece of the whole puzzle. They are not willing to stick their neck out or learn anything about what anyone else does, and they can't help or problem solve in any other area. It's just very, very silo very separate. And in a culture like this, they're probably encouraged or maybe discouraged from talking to other departments or learning about other departments. You keep your focus here, [probably?] their experience. I'm sure that most of us have had at least one experience with a call center that is absolutely either complacency or silo culture.
My mortgage was with Flagstar and they actually sold it last year, so I had an issue with my mortgage company where I had to call the call center and it took me it was their issue, and it took me three calls to even get to someone who would acknowledge that it was their issue and they were going to fix it for me. But no one would take me on as their project. I just needed a champion, a hero to take it on, and I couldn't find that one person.
You keep calling back and the final straw for me was, I had been on the phone with them for an hour-and-a-half, and I finally had someone who understood. I had been moved from department to department telling my story over, and over and over, and I finally got a person who said, "Oh, yeah. I totally see it. I get it," and I was like, "Yes. I am so excited," and then they said, "But you know what? This other department, it was their error, so they're going to have to fix it. So I need to transfer you back," and they put me back into the queue on hold, where I had already waited about 20 or 30 minutes to speak to a human.
So I know we've all experienced that frustration, and man, don't let that be your company. Don't let that be the experience of your customers within your company.
The next one is the confusion one, and this is the, "I don't know. I didn't know. No one told me." You can't lock anyone in. You can't hold anyone accountable because everyone has the whole "I don't know" scenario going so strong. And if you don't have a good communication loop or proof that they knew, you might not know. They either really don't know, or they're using it as a defense mechanism. But either way, it's a culture of can't make it happen.
Intimidation or Fear Culture
The next one is the intimidation culture, and I have worked with several clients who have this. I also call it a culture of fear. And I think what happens is the leaders in these organizations just get so frustrated with their inability to make things happen that they finally just start blowing up, and just the frustration of seeing your vision and not being able to make it happen and not knowing why you can't make it happen. But what happens is everyone's on eggshells. Everyone is hiding and no one is standing up and saying let me make it happen because it's like putting a target on your head. So that's another one that is not good.
Application or Blame Game
The next one is the application. And this the playing the blame game, so this is all about duck and cover, it wasn't me, the full focus and energy in this culture is all about I didn't do it, but let me figure out who did, and there's no room or time to figure out how can we do this better next time because the full focus is on just figuring out who did it and why, and then perhaps the intimidation factor of let's go get them.
The fifth culture, this is the goal, this is the golden key, it's accountability. It's everyone saying let me take responsibility, let's just figure out a way to make it happen. It's that just-do-it attitude, and I tell you when my grandma turned 90, someone got her that "Just Do It" Nike hat. And that is how she lived her life, and that is how you want your employees living and working in your organization.
I want to do a quick poll now on the kinds of culture that you guys have in your organizations. I just want to get a feel for who's got what, and I'll go over again just real briefly each one. I'm going to assume that maybe there won't be too many of you that say accountability, but I could be wrong.
Complacency was that silo where everyone is just focused on that very narrow vision of the organization. They might not even know all the services that you offer. They just know what their one little piece of the puzzle is and they're not going to pay attention to anything else. Then there's the confusion "I didn't know. No one told me. How was I supposed to know?" The confusing culture. Then there's the intimidation culture or that culture of fear, where there's a lot of anger and frustration and people just engaging in duck and cover, and put their head down, and try and stay below the radar. The last one is the application. It looks like we've got our poll results already. So, we do have some accountability cultures that's great. That's actually self-complacency. Accountability was actually number one, so good for you guys. I'm really happy to hear that. And then, we've got some others of you who got a little work to do. So I'm hoping that you're in a position to really have an impact on your culture.
All right, we are going to be moving forward and talking about some strategies.
Individual accountability, the ultimate is a personal choice to rise above one's circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results. As an organization, to create this, and you leaders, you are the ones that make this happen. You create the environment that makes this possible. Because one, they need to know what those desired results are. And you need to give them autonomy to do the job and maybe to go outside their job a little bit.
A great example of this, and probably many of you have heard of them, is Zappos. If you haven't heard of them, they are an online shoe store. They are into providing "wow" customer service 100 percent of the time. Of course, they design their hiring strategy around this and their training. They actually offer money to people after they go through the training. I forget how much it is, but I think it's a couple thousand dollars. You can either take this $2,000 and quit right now, or you can keep working with us. They want to make sure the people want to be there, want to be there having fun, serving their customers. So what they do is, they give their customer service people on the phone the autonomy to help their customers with anything that they need.
I've got two quick examples. And again, this can't happen if you're in a real micromanaging culture; people aren't going to have the autonomy, the freedom, the opportunity to go outside their little box to be creative to solve a customer's needs. But if you give them the autonomy and freedom under certain circumstances to go above and beyond and be creative, then they make cool things happen. Zappos, they give them the opportunity to be flexible and do things for the customer.
So, a woman calls and she has ordered a bunch of shoes and their whole thing is, "Get them back to us if you don't want them," and they give you a deadline, but they pay for the shipping in both directions. But the woman said, "You know, my mom got sick and she just passed away and the funeral is coming up, and I'm not going to have time to get these boxes of shoes back." And what that customer service person had the freedom to do was to say, "You know what, I'm going to take care of this for you." They actually sent a truck to pick up the shoes for her, and they also had the freedom to send her some flowers and a card. So the leaders were the ones that allowed for that freedom to be created.
Another story I heard about Zappos was that the owner of Zappos had a friend with him and they were at a hotel and the friend said, "You know what, I just want to give this a try. I just want to test your CSRs and to see really what lengths they'll go to help their customer. I'm going to call them and order a pizza." And so he called, and he didn't tell them that he was with the owner and said, "You know, here's where I am. I'm in this hotel, and I'd like you to order me a pizza." They did it. So that might not work for you necessarily, but it just is an example of the things when you allow your employees, you give them the autonomy to really work above and beyond what's in their specific job description, it's really leaders who help create that environment, and I'm sure they're congratulated for it. If they ordered someone a pizza and they were screamed at, probably their belief would be I don't want to it's not a good idea to order pizza. But they are probably congratulated for it.
The next thing is team accountability. So you want everyone working together too. You don't want a lot of competition between people that turns negative. And so it's everyone working together, so no balls drop, but when one falls, everyone is diving in to pick it up. And when you ask in your organization who's in charge of customer service, and I don't care again if you're manufacturing or service-oriented, or what kind of organization you are, everyone should be raising their hand because everyone in your organization plays a part in helping to meet the customer's needs, so that you stay in business.
I'll use one more quick example of a great company that I was at recently. It was called The Buckle, and they sell denim and great teamwork. I don't know how they compensate their people. I'd like to find out. I probably will try to find out. I'm really interested to know because they don't have competition going on between their sales people, but they're all fired up about denim. I have never seen people so excited about blue jeans. And again, obviously, they have hired people who only have a heart to serve. They've hired people who like fashion. They've taught them how to look at somebody and figure out which of the many, many styles that they have will fit different body types. They've taught them how to coordinate different outfits and help you pick out shoes and shirts that go with the jeans that you find. So they're upselling and the whole environment, they're very high energy, but multiple people are coming up with ideas for coordinating things to go with your jeans.
When they're asking, "What do you have planned for the weekend?" All that stuff is trained and coordinated. And again, that culture would not happen accidentally. I know that it's helping their company because they are upselling. They're trained in this great environment. I'm talking about it now, I am sure other people talk about it now. That's what you want in your organization.
Let's take just another quick look at accountability. Is your organization above the line or below the line? So are these the kind of things that you hear around your organization? "It's not my job, what else could I do? No one told me what to do. It's not in my department. This is the way we've always done it. I'll figure it out someday." He should have known, or any sentence or question that includes the word they is that I have no power. And then the cover your tail, wait and see, finger point, ignore, deny, any of that stuff, will be indication that you don't have good accountability in your organization. What you really want everyone saying is, "What else can I do to get the results?" And again, you as leaders are defining what are those results. Is it adding to your sales? Meeting certain safety standards? All of those things that I mentioned earlier. In accountability, when I use that term, it's not the "I got you" accountability, like hitting a hammer over someone's head. I believe in leadership and service and that, where there's a gap between your expectations of your team and your actual experience of your team that as a leader you look at yourself first.
So leadership and service is saying: What could I have done differently? What experiences are they having as a result of what I'm paying attention to, what I'm tolerating, what I'm ignoring, what I'm rewarding, what I'm focusing on, what I'm talking about, what coaching am I doing, what encouraging am I doing? All those things help you to help create a culture of accountability and begins with you.
This little simple formula that spells out the word simple. I actually got this from Brian Cole Miller. I had a couple of slides on this same concept but I found this and it's just great. I hope it will help you remember the specific steps.
Creating accountability, the simple formula the first one is set expectations. Get clear on what's expected of every employee. I work with a lot of my leader clients on creating great delegation. Delegation seems like such a simple thing but so often we put creative language to it and tell someone, "Do it when you can." And there's no call to action. Or we don't build in a specific deadline and so it's not done in time and you're frustrated. There are a lot of pitfalls when it comes to delegation. And, actually, at the end of this presentation I'm going to be giving you an email address where you can send us a quick email to sign up for my newsletter, and once you do that, you'll get the link to the download of "Simple Steps to Great Delegation." It's just a free little e-book, that'll give you those six simple steps. Again, I can almost guarantee that you're missing at least one of them. That little e-book can really transform your delegation.
The next one is, invite commitment. You know what? You want people involved in your business with their heads, but also their hearts. And this is about helping to create passion. We all want to feel like we're doing a good job, and we all want to feel like we're a part of something bigger than ourselves. So if you can attack even the smallest things, smallest tasks to the bigger mission and vision of your organization, you're going to be leaps and bounds beyond where you are now.
I always use the example of, years ago, warlords used moving piles of dirt across the field as a form of torture. So these war prisoners they would spend days moving one pile of dirt from one side of a field to the other. Then they'd complete that, and then they'd make them take that pile of dirt back across that field again. So was it exerting the energy that made it so frustrating and torturous for these people, these prisoners? Absolutely not. It was that there was no purpose to the work. If they were moving those piles of dirt to create a stadium for a big event or for a nursing home or an orphanage, they would do that and feel exhilarated at the end of the day. But when your work has no meaning or purpose, it's a lot tougher. So invite their commitment through sharing your mission and vision, and helping them see how even the smallest task can help your organization move forward.
Then measure progress. Find some measurable outcomes where you can say, "Yay, you did it," or "You're 75 percent of the way. Keep going." So that people again can know that they're doing a good and see all the progress.
The key is to provide feedback. This is ongoing, it's not just at the end of the year when you have to do a performance review because human resources said you had to do it. This is ongoing communication. It's how you relate to your employees. It's how you fire them up. It's how you make sure that they have the resources that they need to do their work. So, talk to them about find out, do you need something else? Here you're falling behind here, let's talk about it.
Link to Consequences
The next thing is to provide a link to consequences. While I believe that most people want to do a good job I also know that some people need a little external motivation to do that good job. So, maybe a performance improvement plan or even a discipline process to give them that little bit of a nudge.
And then, the last thing is evaluate the effectiveness. So how is it going? Are we reaching our goals? And that again, that leadership and service, those questions. Did I communicate the expectations clearly? Did I set clear deadlines? Did I fire them up? Did I catch issues and problem solve as we went along or did I wait until the end until it was too late and they were frustrated? Did I provide the necessary resources for them to be successful? Sorry guys, but as leaders, that comes back to you again.
So intentionally design your culture. Start, on this list right here and just kind of work backwards, but begin with your mission and vision. What are those measurable results that you're trying to get, and again I'm going to say a number of new customers, what kind of sales increase do you want? Productivity rate, quality standards, safety standards whatever they are what are the measurable results? And make sure that everyone knows what they are and what they're shooting for. What's the big mission? Even if I'm working in bookkeeping and I'm working with numbers all day, how is that impacting the overall mission and vision of the organization?
And you're going to say what actions are required for me? So the employees, for them to help meet their mission and vision, and what behaviors are required to get those actions? And what beliefs do they have to have to create the behaviors that create those actions that give us the mission and vision. And finally, what kind of experiences do I, as their leader, need to create to create the right beliefs, that will create the behaviors, that will create the actions that will help us meet our mission and vision.
When I do this in person I get to see the nods and the yeses, so I'm hoping that I see a lot of those but yes or no. Have I sold you on the fact that your culture is your team machine? That your employees need to work in concert together to make what you need to make happen in your organization effectively? Have I sold you on the fact that as leaders, you create the experiences for your company that define your culture?
So those experiences, again, you're either paying attention to the experiences you're creating or you're not. You're coming in and encouraging or you're ignoring things that you should be paying attention to. Are the experiences that you and leaders creating resulting in a culture that you want or a different culture? Have I sold you on the fact that your culture will be created accidentally or on purpose? You are the creator of your company's culture, so you need to pay attention to what culture you're creating. Again that goes so far beyond just creating a fun place for people to work.
Have I sold you on the fact that with accountability, you can keep it simple and create a culture of accountability? I really hope that the answer to all of these questions today is yes. And the next big question is and if you downloaded your form write it on there: What will you do differently starting now? My hope is that you've gotten some new good information that you can implement immediately and on your form it says, "I commit to taking the following actions to improve the impact I have on the culture of my organization."
Also, I just want to really quickly tell you FocusForCoaching.com is my website and you can get more information about how I help companies with their people problems. So I work individually with leaders. I work with teams. I have a wealth of information there. I also helped with routine searches, and I have my newsletter. And like I said, just send an email to email@example.com and you will be able to get that free download of "Six Simple Steps of Great Delegation."
I also have a book coming out in the fall, and you will be first to know when it's coming out. There will also be a lot of free information and giveaways, some great stuff that you'll be able to get, only my list will get, and you'll be able to pre-order the book as well. And there's my phone number too. I would love to hear from some of you. So, thank you so much and we are going to open it up to questions. I'm going to turn it back over to Randi. Thanks again.
Thank you. That was really super a wonderful, wonderful example. So, thanks so much for sharing your insight with us today. At this time, I would like to turn it over to our Verizon Meeting Manager, who will help support our Q&A session.
Thank you. If you would like to ask a question, please press star one. You will be announced prior to asking your question. To withdraw on a question, you may press star two. Once again, star one if you would like to ask a question.
While we're waiting for those we have several people who have typed a question into WebEx while you were presenting. Again, if anybody have questions and would like to type them in, they may do so in the Q&A session that you see on your screen. The first question that I have is, how do you affect culture if your best proponents and role models of the culture you want to have are not your leaders?
I actually work with clients where sometimes I'm not working with the top people or the owners of the companies. Obviously, it's tougher to enact change if you're not the ultimate leader. But I say, "Just have tenacity and keep at it, and you will be a role model of accountability if you just keep doing it." If you have a team, if you're holding them accountable. And again, it's tough for your team that they might see other departments where people aren't held accountable, and they can come up with all kinds of excuses, but continue to encourage. I really believe that when we encourage our employees to excel, we're doing them a favor. We're helping them reach their full potential and just stay focused on that, and focused on the mission of the organization and keep at it, although I know it's tough.
We have a question about timing, how long does it take, do you think, to change a culture in a company?
Oh boy, it's not a quick snap of your fingers. I always say that, "I wish you can snap your fingers and make it happen." But there are some things you can do to speed it up a little bit. Very often, for instance, when I'm working with leaders, I'll encourage them because when I'm coaching someone, it's all very confidential but I encourage them to just be really open and upfront with their co-workers about the work that they're doing. Because if you start behaving differently so if you've been a fly-off-the-handle leader and all of a sudden you're coming in and appreciating everyone, and saying thank you, and sending emails, and all that, they're going to think that it's not really authentic.
And so I really encourage you to just be upfront about what you're working on. And own up to your past behavior. If you can own up and apologize, most people see the gray area of, "Okay, here's how they were behaving, here's how they are behaving; I don't get it." Now they know what you're working on, and most people will appreciate if you can really share your heart, and talk about, "I'm sorry that I was behaving this way, and I'm really working on it." And they can also help hold you accountable as you change. So there are some things, if you just let your employees know like, "We're at point A. We want to get to point C, and here's some of the changes you're going to see," it'll help move them through that gray area a little more quickly. But no, it can take months and months, for sure.
Kathy, do we have any questions over the phone?
At this time I show no questions.
Okay, so I'm going to continue going on. We've had a lot of questions, that have actually been typed in. So the next question I have here is: how do you address when the culture, which is professed, is not the culture which is acted out? In other words, you think that you were very flexible, but in reality, there's little flexibility.
That's getting people to gain some personal awareness. So if you're saying, for instance, we offer flexibility for employees, and you're not. Having those hard conversations, and really pointing it out where the again, focusing on the experiences and people's perceptions. Your employees perceptions are their reality. Sure each individual needs to own their perceptions because they have filters, but if your whole employee base says, "This is what our experience is." Then, you really need to look at that and take that as fact and change the experiences that you're having for people.
I actually did have a client who one of their core values was to have a great place to work. They wanted to respect and show appreciation, and value their employees. When I went in and did a cultural assessment, I found that they actually were one of the biggest cultures of fear I've ever worked with. It was a tough one for me to go in there. I just had to tell those leaders, listen here's what's happening, and here are the experiences that they're having that are leading to these beliefs. Then help them create the new experiences. How they're going to move to the culture that they had said they wanted. Here's what you need to do different because if you keep doing the same, you're not going to be there. So it's having some tough conversations with people.
We got a lot of questions also about companies who have a lot of remote workers. This one states, "65 to 70 percent of our company works remotely. How do you create a company culture in that type of organization?"
Even when they're working remotely, and hopefully you're at least having some group phone calls or something, I always encourage people who are working remotely to still call in and have contact with people who are at the office or with their other co-workers who are also working remotely.
But I tell you as a leader, the things that you congratulate, the things that you acknowledge, the things that you focus on, the things that you tolerate all those experiences, you can still be communicating with them to create that culture.
So for instance, if you have someone working remotely and they come up with an issue and say, "I think this might work better if we do it differently." Your reaction to them pointing out an issue and coming up with a solution will help dictate what their belief is. "Gosh, I'm just this little remote worker." Wow, they thank me. "They actually implemented what I said. I have a belief now that I can go to them with my ideas versus the experience of, well you don't really know what's going on. Now my belief is I'm not going to speak up."
So again it's always just being really intensely focusing on the experiences that you're creating for those employees. I will tell you too, what I see over and over again is so often we treat acknowledgement and thank you as a limited resource. And that in and of itself creates a negative dynamic in your organization. So when you finally do thank someone or acknowledge them, your whole culture ends up being like a bunch of starving people clawing at a little bit of food in the center of the room. It ends up with backstabbing and fighting. Looks like they're fighting over this limited resource, when actually you can thank them and acknowledge them, and have another thank you and acknowledgement ready right the next second.
So I really encourage my clients to treat it as abundant and always authentically. I'm not about making something up, but there's always something positive, and every day go out of your way to look for opportunities to thank your team. I've gone from having people say, "Well, you know, I mean I'm paying them and they're coming to work," but you know what? People want to feel like they're doing a good job. You as their leader are the person that can feed them from there, so don't let them sit there starving.
We have a question about the leaders and the company cultures when it's a more technical environment. This question says, "How do you convince the leaders that they really make a difference to our culture?" We are very technical in our companies, so this concept might be viewed as [a fluff?].
Yeah, manufacturing tend to think that too sometimes. Well, I can't answer. That they don't know if they mean by the employees that think it's [a fluff?] or the leaders. But again, I think ultimately, regardless of how or why or the kind of work that we're doing, some basics things are the same in almost all people. And it's one, we want to feel like we're doing a good job. Two, we want to feel like we're part of something bigger than ourselves. Even in a technical environment, just some thank you and acknowledgements will go a long way to helping create a culture where that's abundant.
And again, it's authentic. I think sometimes, if the leader feels funny doing it, or they think, "Well, they're supposed to be going the extra mile, and solving all these technical issues." That if the leader is kind of demonstrating like, "I think this is silly, but they told me I had to do it," then that's how it's going to be seen by the employees. But if they can be actually authentically enthusiastic about creating that culture of appreciation that it'll be appreciated by the team.
Before I continue with all of the questions that have been typed in, I just want to ask again if there are any questions on the phone lines?
Once again, it is star one.
All right. So let's continue with these questions that I have. We have a lot that have actually been typed in. What should you do if you find out that some of your current employees do not fit the culture you want to establish?
Yeah, so and again, I've walked this journey with a lot of my clients because when I start working with them they're in a certain culture that's not working. And yeah you do end up with that having to use that in a part of the hiring process. You have to make some tough decisions.
Usually what I end up doing is helping those leaders create the mindset that they need to create the culture. That you really make sure you're giving them every opportunity to be successful, every opportunity to make the right choices. If you're really going to start focusing on your customer service you've had in the past or you've had a culture where complaining, whining, and focusing on all of that versus your customer has been tolerated you have to be very clear with the expectations going forward.
And there is no guilt as long as you give them the expectations, give them the opportunity to make right choices. Sometimes I say like, "The train is leaving. Woo wooo! Get on board or don't." And you can tell them, "I want you to be successful. I want you to keep working here, but here are the expectations and you have to meet them."
I once was working with a client, it was actually a doctor's office and the front desk person just flat out told me, "I've always been this negative. I just have a nasty personality." And she didn't want to change it. It was unfortunate. But wow, that's not the experience that you want your patients to have when they're coming in not feeling well. And so she had a choice to be different or move on. And I always say, "Release them out into the world. Just go to a place where they fit." Because they won't be comfortable. They'll continue to sabotage a lot of them and try to take your culture down. They'll be resistant to any kind of change. I call it collateral damage. There's a lot of collateral damage when you try to accommodate them and leave them in your organization if you're trying to change your culture. So they need to move on unfortunately.
What about organizations that have different cultures to different departments?
Well, that can cause problems. It happens a lot. One you might end up with competing. Actually, I worked with this large organization one time and they had competing outcomes and goals for different areas. They actually had clinics who were stealing each other's patients away because they were rewarding for certain things. And so, as an organization as a whole it doesn't work. Sometimes when you're all in one location, there's generally going to be one kind of culture that's going to work for your organization. You'll have some differences obviously between like a technical department and maybe a customer service, but even your technical people they have internal customers. So, you still want them to have that heart to serve, but they're going to be kind of more detail-oriented and technical. So, you're going to have a little bit of diversity and personalities within your departments, but the goal is really to have one culture for your whole organization.
I think we just have time for one more question so I'm going to make it this one. It's, "How do you continue to motivate your staff and create that great culture when you're trying to do more with less?"
That's actually a time when you unite your team with the inspiration of making it happen. And I know it's tough, and they're getting tired, and they're taking more and more on, but if you continue to have that just-do-it attitude and let's see what we can make happen together today and everyone's coming together, it really becomes a glue that unites the team. And again, don't forget all those acknowledgements. Feed them, feed them, feed them with acknowledgements and thank you.
I know a lot of companies right now don't have any money to invest in people, but just simple things like emails or let them pick the music that you're playing in the department for a day. There are things that you can do that don't even cost money that acknowledge people. If it fits with your environment, have a bell that you ding when you meet a goal, whether it's a patient visit goal or a sales goal or something so that everybody knows, and you can have that quick moment of coming together with a celebration. So things like that. Just try to make it fun.
Those are good ideas. I think we've reached the top of the hour. At this point, Kirsten I'd like to just thank you very much for sharing your expertise with us today. I'm going to conclude our event. A recording of this event as well as the presentation materials will be available shortly on our hiring site, hiring.monster.com under the Resource Center tab. Please join us again on August 18 for our webinar titled, "Four Steps to a World Class Internship Program." Thanks again for joining us everyone. Have a wonderful day.