• Three primary factors provide major inputs into culture
• Leadership is essential
• Communication permeates everything in the enterprise
• A healthy ecosystem enables everyone to contribute effectively
We’ve talked about the factors that make up the systems within a company it’s culture. But what about the inputs? What are the prime influences? What do they look like? In other words, if we want to create movement in the culture, what are drivers we can influence? There are three primary areas of concentration: Leadership, Communication and Ecosystem.
Culture is dynamic. People impact the culture; those same people are influenced by it. Leaders, by their position within an organization, can have a disproportionate impact, as long as they recognize the nature of cultural interactions. As a result, the ways that leaders interact with their people is important.
Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway makes many of his investment decisions based upon his impression of the leadership of a company. The following are some questions that would be useful in considering the qualities of the leaders in your organization:
1. Are your leaders clear and consistent in all forms of communication? Do they send the same type of message in print, in person, on Zoom and by phone?
2. Do your leaders encourage their members to look at things from multiple perspectives? Do they push them to look at all options available?
3. How good are your leaders at connecting their reports to the larger goals of the organization to help improve outcomes?
4. Are your leaders providing good coaching to their members?
5. Are your leaders good role models?
If your leaders fulfill the above qualities, there is an excellent chance that the organization’s culture is well founded and poised for growth.
The second primary driver is Communication. One of the hallmarks of a constructive culture is how well information travels within the organization. Answer these questions and share them within your organization.
1. Is the information timely? Do co-workers share important information as soon as it is available?
2. Is the communication relevant to what I am contributing to the effort? Does it help me to be able to perform my job effectively?
3. Does it travel through many ears and mouths before the intended individual receives it? Has the information come from or close to its source?
4. In discussions, is there enough psychological safety for people to share what is really happening and what they really think about an issue? Will people tackle difficult conversations or offer diverging opinions?
5. Does the organization invest the time and energy to seek out my thoughts? When they do, are they acted upon?
Good communication is vital within organizations. Those leaders who ensure good communications reap the rewards in engagement, innovation and performance.
The third leg of this stool is the Ecosystem of your organization. This concerns the way that the enterprise is organized to accomplish its work. The types of things that are relevant here are:
1. Does the organization have an easily understood, clearly defined mission? Does everyone know what it entails?
2. Are the goals of the organization clearly defined? Do people understand what they need to do to achieve these goals?
3. Has the organization developed and clearly communicated the strategies necessary to achieve the goals that have been outlined? Does everyone understand their roles?
4. Does the organization have the proper technology to implement the strategies? Is everyone fully able to leverage that technology successfully?
5. Is the structure that underpins the organization up to the task of supporting the necessary work?
6. What are the appropriate processes and procedures to accomplish the work? Do they promote an effective flow of work within the organization?
These are obviously very meaty areas to investigate. There are tools available to accurately gauge these issues and assist your organization to ensure that they adopt a highly constructive culture. At Level Three, we have used them for over 30 years to help enterprises get the best results out of their efforts. We’re happy to contribute to yours.
Ready, Mindset, Grow!: Nuggets Mined from the Leadership Journeys – June 13, 2021
Business leadership books abound today. What makes this one worth the read? Actionable insights! Ready, Mindset, Grow, delivers to today’s leaders entertaining stories of the transformative power of culture. Backed by solid research, these brief tales, and the lessons they convey, can be put into practice for short-term wins and long-term growth. Entertaining and insightful, the author has filled the pages with cultural nuggets and jewels from his 30+ years of experience in leadership coaching and consulting. Smart leaders will appreciate the candor, catch glimpses into their own circumstances and gain the conviction needed to accomplish positive cultural change.