As it stands, breakfast really isn’t a bad analogy. There seem to be as many ‘brands’ of culture as there are breakfast cereals. Are you hoping to describe your organizational culture as Irresistible? Humanistic? Purposeful? Happy? …Some other (mostly) ‘people-centered’ word? Or, would you say Innovative? Customer Service? LEAN? Collaborative? …Another (sort of) ‘process-oriented’ description? Well, they all sound pretty good to me. And, of course, really, really important. Because, as Drucker points out – “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.
The caveat? That goes for whatever your culture is, at any moment. So, then, what do we do if any part of our culture is less than ideal? [Please, please don’t say culture change… Because if we aren’t there in the first place, then what are we changing?]
As we continue with the breakfast theme [it IS the most important meal of the day, you know] …Just how important is culture, then? Research points out that companies with higher performance-enhancing cultures outperformed those that did not – in hugely significant ways…
- More than a 500% increase in revenue,
- More than a 200% increase in employee growth,
- More than a 700% increase in net income,
So, pick your brand of culture. Are you sure it’s enhancing the right performance, in every moment? My guess is that many of you aren’t so sure. So, let’s look at the key ingredients we need, for a breakfast-of-culture-champions.
Aspirational models may not be ideal
Your ideal culture model promises that ‘when your employees reach […Insert name of your ‘brand’…], you can expect greater performance.
Okay, sure. It can be great to have ideal models to aspire to. It’s just that, alone, this is not enough. Need proof? For a couple of decades, we have seen no change. We still count less than 20% of the employees as actively engaged in enhancing performance, even with all of the money and effort that companies have invested in building (and trying to change) their corporate culture.
What are your people supposed to do – in the very next task they take on – BEFORE they reach your ideal? Exactly how are they to ideally enhance performance, especially through rising pressure, and aspire to be who you want them to be? Plus, they have to engender these ideals in everyone else, as well… As far as I can tell, you’ve just told your people how-far-they-are-from-ideal and prescribed more stuff for them to do… before anyone can hope for (the right?!) enhanced performance.
Prescribing and describing ‘enhanced’ performance
Think for a moment about a typical culture activity. Leaders (mostly) prescribe the values and processes necessary to achieve the ideal culture, sharing ‘who’ the employees should be and ‘what’ they need to do to enhance performance… A part of the rollout is usually some level of ‘buy-in’ to these ideals. But, no matter how nicely this step is taken; over time, compliance may be the only result. [It’s a bit like asking everybody to order breakfast from a set menu!]
My findings validate that this kind of (even unintended) compliant culture will eventually suffer for dis-engagement – which in turn hinders further increases to performance. Some new measures that I found to serve your culture – are pretty simple. Allow your employees to describe ‘how’ they choose to perform, in specific ways, to personalize their own path toward your ideal culture model and to engage them, uniquely, in enhancing performance. According to Barbara Fredrickson, in her book, “Positivity”, when people intentionally order their goals [in performance], they are engaged in their work.
By prescribing the right organizational performance and describing the individuals’ preferential mindsets that underpin their performance, leaders have a dashboard-like-view of how to engage their people in enhancing the right performance – even as they transition toward your ideal culture. In my research, I call this Engaged Productivity™. [That, to me, is the ideal for any business.]
To share is fair.
To understand culture is one thing. To ‘share’ in company-wide commitment to it is another. [Everybody can read the menu, but isn’t it better when each individual can choose his/her own breakfast?]
My research on Engaged Productivity™
unveiled a system that models, from one quick survey,
how employees choose to perform – in the context of the organization’s actual strategic priorities, in precise and predictive ways…
- Organizing your strategic working processes, more precisely around the performance preferences of your people;
- Predicting personalized paths for all your people toward your ideal culture characteristics
…Even as changes occur and pressures rise.
Balancing that breakfast-analogy between what people want (the culture) and what people need to do (the strategy), sounds like a great way to start every day and bring home the bacon!
Next up… Productivity and Engagement: What if you didn’t have to choose
Engaged Productivity™ encompasses revolutionary new thinking to solve the employee engagement challenge in quick, precise and predictable ways.
Learn more about Engaged Productivity™.
Read more of her bio at: www.authentum.com/about-us/
Follow Authentum on Twitter at: @AuthentumAtWork