The Culture Competency That Trips up Most Companies

What's Your Company Culture Score?

From all the culture analyses I have performed, I find it interesting that the vast majority of the organizations I survey have shortcomings in the same area. In my surveys, I look at how these organizations score in Appreciation, Morale, Trust, and Communication. In three out of every four organizations, the Culture Competency that needs the most attention is Communication.

Culture Competency

I find it particularly interesting that this is true even in organizations with high scores. Even where organizations that otherwise have a good culture foundation still struggle with communicating effectively. And unfortunately, when the Culture Competency of Communication suffers, then all the efforts to build Appreciation, Morale, and Trust are undermined as well.

Here are five reasons why organizations have difficulty with getting the Culture Competency of Communication right.

How Vision Paints a Picture Everyone Can See

Five Ways to Use Vision in Creating Culture

Vision is a key ingredient for creating culture at any organization. Having vision is about seeing things that others don’t see. Then it’s important to use that vision as a rallying cry. Because vision paints the future as a picture everyone can see.

Vision Paints

It is imperative for a leader to know where to lead the organization. In the process of setting that direction, other benefits are generated as a result.

Here are five benefits your vision generates for your culture.

How to Operationalize Your Core Values

How to Live What You Say You Believe

Values are important to corporate culture. Companies go to great lengths to list these lofty sounding concepts. Then they put them on plaques on the wall in their lobbies. But values do not have any power unless those companies operationalize their values.

operationalize

Simply listing your organization’s values is only the first step. If you stop there, then the list may have the opposite effect. If you do not operationalize your values, your team will likely laugh at them because they ring hollow. Unless operationalized, values will just be words on a plaque.

Once you have identified your values, here are four steps to take so you can operationalize your values.

How Is Your Emotional Intelligence?

An Executive Coach Can Give You a Competitive Advantage

Your emotional intelligence will be the most important skill in the workforce of the future. With AI becoming more and more a part of the workplace, humans will become more valuable for what makes them distinctively human. Your ability to work with other people will be what sets you apart from machines—and from other humans.

Emotional Intelligence

If you are not able to help people become better than they are now, then you may need to think through how you can increase your emotional intelligence. An executive coach may be exactly what you need.

A good executive coach will challenge you to think differently. The thinking that has brought you to where you are now is not the thinking that will bring you to where you want to go. You must be willing to shore up your emotional intelligence in order adapt to the new situations you will encounter in the workplace of the future.

Here are three ways an executive coach can help you grow your emotional intelligence.

Results Come from Relationships

Case Study: Benchmark Community Bank

In today’s business culture, can a bank attain great bottom line results without merging, acquiring another bank, or adopting a sales culture? According to Jay Stafford—President and CEO of Benchmark Community Bank in Kenbridge, Virginia—the answer is yes.

Bottom Line Results

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jay. A Fredericksburg native, Jay married a Southside girl and moved to Lunenburg County, a mostly agricultural area near her hometown of Blackstone, where tobacco was once the primary cash crop. Although he has seen the area deteriorate over the years, he is very passionate about what he does there and wants to make a difference in this community. He knows that Benchmark Community Bank is one of the larger employers in the area, and if Benchmark went away, then the town would be severely impacted.

Jay said that 50% of his employees have been with Benchmark less than five years, not because of turnover but because of growth. He said their culture has been instrumental in contributing to that growth.

In his own words, here’s how Jay Stafford has grown Benchmark Community Bank and its great bottom line results through building the right culture.

What makes a Google team successful?

The Five Key Attributes of a Google Team

Remember the last time that you were part of a team assigned to create a deliverable? Whether it was weeks ago on the job or years ago at school, what stood out to you? Chances are that you had a bad experience. Most people recall those projects as disasters: no one really understood what they were supposed to do—but if they did, they got stuck doing all the work for the team. So how is it that Google has had such success working in teams? What makes a Google team successful?

Google Team

From the Google blog, here are the five key attributes of a Google team.

A Leader Must Be Prepared to Say No

Leaders Should Not Say Yes Too Often

As a leader, you are tugged in different directions all the time. Some people want you to do one thing, and others want you to do something else. You are constantly being asked to do things that are outside the scope of your focus. And your default answer must be no.

no

It’s not easy saying no. But that’s why you’re the leader. It’s important for you to focus on where you know you need to go. You can’t do what others will suggest most of the time. That’s why you have to be prepared to say no most of the time.

There are three reasons why your default answer must be no.

How Much Do You Validate Your Team?

Don’t Just Reward After the Fact—Appreciate Your Team Before They Act

It’s important to take the time to congratulate your team on a job done well. When they perform well it’s imperative to tell them that they did a good job. But how do you keep your team motivated when they have had failure after failure despite their best efforts? At those times, your team needs you to reinforce their psychological safety. They need you to validate them.

Validate

While rewarding your team for their performance is good, appreciating your team for their person is better. As Mike Robbins says in Harvard Business Review, “recognition is about what people do; appreciation is about who they are.” The people on your team are humans before they are employees. They need you to validate them.

Here are three ways that you can validate your team members in the normal course of your everyday work.

How Should Diversity Factor into Hiring Your Team?

Three Things to Look for in Selecting the Right Team

Assembling the right team is essential to having a thriving workplace. It is important to know what you need when hiring your key positions. Unless you are extremely self-aware, you might not know what you need. That’s why diversity is a key component of any human resources strategy.

Diversity

Diversity doesn’t just have to be limited to what people look like on the outside. While that is helpful to assembling a strong team, it’s important to go deeper than that. It’s essential to know how to hire based on what your team looks like on the inside.

Here are three things to think through when applying diversity to hiring your key team members.

What Should Be the Purpose of Business?

What’s at the Core of Your Business?

On Sunday I played Monopoly with my kids. I hadn’t played that game in years. As we sat down to play, I looked at the rules. Since it had been so long since I played Monopoly, I wanted to familiarize myself with the purpose of the game.

Purpose

Under the section entitled, How to win, here’s the purpose of Monopoly.

Move around the board buying as many properties as you can. The more you own, the more rent you’ll be able to collect from other players. If you’re the last player with money when all other players have gone bankrupt, you win!

It seems American society believes that’s what business is all about: win by crushing your competition. The very foundations of capitalism have been crumbling, in no small measure because many companies have had a win-at-all-costs strategy. While your business may not be guilty of a Monopoly mentality, society at large thinks you are. Here’s what that means for you, and what you can do about it.