Culture change starts with you as a leader. In your role at your organization, you can have a profound impact on the people employed there. You have the potential to be an agent of transformation. You can make a contribution to society by making an impact on your company culture. Diversity starts with you.
We all arrive where we are based on our own experiences, and our experiences affect our worldview. But here’s the tricky thing: we are usually oblivious of our worldview. We usually think we are more open-minded than we actually are. We usually don’t realize what our worldview is until something challenges that view.
Culture change is a process, and a process takes time. It requires intentionality, clarity, and consistency. It requires doing things that we typically haven’t done before. We can’t expect a short diversity training session to change behavior. It needs to be woven into the fabric of our organizations. It requires us to operationalize our organizational values into a systemized training process.
Here are five key concepts for incorporating diversity into your company culture through a systemized training process.
Your training program in your company may be incomplete. Training is an essential part of building your culture, but many organizations don’t understand how comprehensive it should be. Culture building should be integrated into your training program in order to get the most out of your training dollars. Otherwise you are throwing money away.
Training is not expensive: lack of training is expensive. Take The Container Store, for example. They provide their employees with more than 10x the amount of training their industry average provides. And they pay their employees significantly more than the industry average. And yet their employees have only 1/10 of the industry turnover rate.
The training The Container Store provides their team serves to create the culture that keeps employees working for the company. Similarly, your company needs to incorporate your culture building process into your training program.
Here are the four levels necessary for your training program to mutually reinforce your culture building process.
When people talk about branding, usually they think about a logo. While a logo is a graphical representation of the brand, a brand involves so much more. The brand summarizes all the experiences that people have had with your organization over time. So when we think of branding, we should not focus on solely the logo. Instead, we should focus on holistic branding.
Holistic branding takes into consideration all the interactions your employees have with customers. Your external marketing messages and your internal employee culture must be seamless. What customers experience in their interactions with your employees must be in alignment with what they see in your marketing messages. If they do not match, then customers will be confused. And confusion kills branding.
There are three important factors involved in holistic branding.
Your culture defines how things are done at your organization. But it’s possible your culture defines how things are not done at your organization. Instead of moving your organization forward, it’s possible your culture is holding you back. If that’s the case, you have a toxic culture.
A toxic culture makes everything more difficult at your organization. Eventually a toxic culture will cause you to lose your best people, decrease your productivity, and reduce your profitability. And it will only get worse unless it’s identified and addressed.
Here are four signs that you have a toxic culture at your workplace.
Your company purpose is key to your brand differentiation. Knowing why you do what you do will help you draw the right customers to your company. But what if along the way you have lost hold of your company purpose? Or what if you never identified your company purpose? The good news it’s never too late for you to (re)discover your company purpose.
Now, it’s important to remember that your company purpose has nothing to do with making money. It can’t have anything to do with making money. Because making money is only a by-product of your company purpose.
Here are three ways you can (re)discover your company purpose.
The other day a fellow CEO told me about another CEO who found their staff camaraderie suffered because of telecommuting. He said that lack of regular contact took its toll on their organizational culture. That was a lesson that he took to heart, especially in this day of social distancing. We don’t have a choice about where we are physically located at this time, but we do have a choice about whether or not we will make an impact on those we are in contact with, even virtually.
During this COVID reality, you can’t necessarily be with the people on your team, but you can still reach out to them. Your good intentions don’t have to shelter in place.
Your organizational culture will likely suffer because your people don’t have regular human contact with each other. You will need to be intentional about the contact you do have with your team in order to make up for that loss of face-to-face interaction.
Don’t forget to be human when social distancing. In a COVID world, here are some ways to make an impact on those you can’t physically have around you.
In these unprecedented times, the world is looking for stability. Just as the markets crave stability, so does your team. That’s because both are afraid of uncertainty. So in your workplace you can use your leadership to provide stability—and help combat fear in your team.
Right now everyone is trying to stop the spread of COVID-19, but no one knows if the resulting economic damage from the virus will be worse. And right now everyone on your team is wondering if they will lose their jobs later down the line. So all the fear of uncertainty is taking its toll on your team.
Even if you don’t have all the answers right now, here’s how you can provide some stability for your team and help them combat fear in this crisis.
At one time one of my team members acted out of character. At first, I didn’t say anything to her. I just let it go and didn’t press the issue, although I found it concerning. But the next time she said the same thing, I realized I could not let it go. I took the time to ask her about it. As a result, I discovered what was making her act so unlike herself. Although it was an uncomfortable conversation at first, it gave me a window into what was going on in her head at the time. But that would not have happened if I hadn’t been willing to maximize the moment.
We are in unprecedented times now. People on your team—and in your family—are going to act in ways that will be unlike their normal behavior. Take the time to find out what’s going on in their heads. Be fully present when leading your team. And don’t avoid these uncomfortable conversations.
In your efforts to maximize the moment, here are three rules of engagement when dealing with people on your team.