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 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.

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.

A Five-Step Process to Build Morale in Your Company

How You as a Leader Can Create a Team Culture

As a leader, one of your greatest assets is the morale of your team. How you wield your influence can profoundly affect the culture of your organization. The more intentional and consistent you are in building the culture, the greater the benefits you will see from your leadership. That’s why it is so important to create a build morale in your company.

Build Morale

Most of the time morale is noticed only because it’s lacking. No one typically thinks about morale if it’s good. You will do everyone on your team a favor if they don’t notice the (lack of) morale in your company.

Here are five ways you can build morale in your company—and create a Team Culture in the process.

The Bottom Line is Not the Bottom Line

Be Careful with Your Most important Asset

A new study led by Baylor University demonstrates a correlation between a manager’s focus on bottom line results and their employees’ lack of performance. According to the research led by Dr. Matthew Quade and published in the journal Human Relations, “Supervisors who focus only on profits to the exclusion of caring about other important outcomes, such as employee well-being or environmental or ethical concerns, turn out to be detrimental to employees.”

bottom line 

The article continues by saying that these employer-employee “relationships … are marked by distrust, dissatisfaction and lack of affection for the supervisor” which produces “employees who are less likely to complete tasks at a high level and less likely to go above and beyond the call of duty.” Managers must be careful about what they wish for. Because they might get it.

When managers focus too much on the bottom line, then employees consciously or unconsciously respond negatively. Here’s how you can rescue your company’s productivity and profitability by making your bottom line not the bottom line.

Are You a Spider or an Ant?

Which Insect Do You Resemble More?

Are you a spider or an ant? Which insect do you resemble more? And which one do you aspire to be?

spider

I’m not talking about whether you live in a web or an anthill. But we can learn a lot by observing these small creatures—especially about ourselves.

Here are three ways to evaluate how you operate in a professional setting based on observations of the spider and the ant.

Take Ownership of Your Role at Work

How to Become Invaluable to Your Boss

Several years ago, I oversaw some annual events for the organization I worked for. Sometimes several dozen people would attend, sometimes a smaller number. But regardless of the number of attendees, there were innumerable details that had to be coordinated. And to handle all those details, I turned to Beth. I knew as soon as I handed the event off to Beth, it was as good as done, because she came back to me only if she had questions. She handled every single detail with perfect ease. She could run an intimate event, a small conference, or even a large convention. That’s because she took ownership of whatever she was asked to do.

Ownership

I remember the many phone conversations with Beth. I would ask her, “What do we need to do about this?” And she would inevitably say, “Already taken care of.” While still on the call, I would think of something else and ask, “Have you been able to deal with that?” And again, she would say, “I’ve already got it covered.”

Beth led by taking ownership of her role. She understood what was expected of her, and she expanded her role by thinking through everything that was involved with her responsibilities. As a result, her job was done well, and the organization benefited as well.

By being willing to pitch in and do what is necessary, you will become invaluable to everyone around you. You do not have to wait for someone else’s permission to take ownership of your situation. Your boss wants you to take charge of your job. Here are three specific actions you can focus on in your workplace to take ownership of your role.

You Can Improve Morale Even If You Are Not the Boss

You Have More Influence Than You May Realize

Many years ago, I worked at an organization that had horrible morale. To make matters worse, my boss was oblivious and even indifferent to the workplace culture. Despite his lack of interest in the culture, he was open to my starting a weekly prayer meeting at the office.

morale

I invited anyone and everyone on the staff to participate. I didn’t expect many people to join me, but Joe and Tom did. Sometimes only two of us showed up for prayer, but more often than not the three of us were there.

Long after we started praying together, Tom surprised me one day. He said, “I know the only reason that I have been able to make it through is because of our prayers.” He directly attributed that small prayer gathering to giving him the peace to survive the toxic work environment. Things at work didn’t seem to change that much. But Tom, Joe, and I were changed. And that helped to change the morale of the workplace—at least from our perspective.

Even if you are not the one in charge, you can make a difference—because you can choose to do something. If you are willing to put the needs of the team ahead of yourself, people will ultimately look to you as a leader—because you are already leading.

Here are three ways that you can improve morale even if you are not the boss.

How Well Do You Represent Your Employer?

Be Aware of Your Attitude in the Office and Out of the Office

Many years ago I worked for a guy I’ll call Greg. Working with Greg was awkward. He badmouthed his boss in the office, but in public he spoke favorably about him. To outsiders, he seemed like a good team player, but those of us who worked for him knew otherwise. Then Greg got a promotion that gave him even greater autonomy. His role involved more travel and he had more opportunities to represent his boss and the organization. While he was competent at what he did, he still did not have a positive opinion of his boss.

Represent Your Employer

One day, Greg’s opinions caught up to him. He was dismissed for disloyalty to his boss and to the organization. Despite getting caught, he did not express remorse over how he handled the situation. Instead he blamed his boss.

When Greg said disparaging things about his boss, it was less a statement about his boss and more a statement about himself. While he represented his boss he also represented himself, and what he said about his boss within the office reflected poorly on himself.

When you represent your boss, you also represent yourself. How you conduct yourself representing your employer says a lot about you. Perhaps you complain about your employer to others so that they will join you in complaining about their employers. At best, it drags you down to a lower level. At worst, it poisons your relationship with other people and damages your prospects at getting employed elsewhere.

It is up to you whether you change your attitude and choose to represent yourself and your employer in a way that honors both you and your company. No one can improve your attitude for you. You have to be the one who will decide to change your attitude.

Whether you deal directly with customers or not, you represent your employer to people in your sphere of influence. Here are three areas in which you should monitor your attitude to represent yourself and your organization well.

Are You Open to a New Perspective?

Seeing the Big Picture Will Help You—Whatever Your Role

At one place I worked, I facilitated the onboarding process for new hires from around the country. I guided them through their orientation as well as their introduction to their initial corporate training. During this time, these new hires were exposed to the depth of the organization. They discovered for the first time all the services their employer provided to clients. Even though it might have felt overwhelming, they got a full picture of the capabilities of their new employer. By learning of all the ways they could be a part of serving their clients, they gained a new perspective.

New Perspective

In the sixth chapter of 2 Kings, the Scripture shows how important a new perspective is. After the prophet Elisha had repeatedly warned the king of Israel of the Syrian king’s battle plans, one night the infuriated king of Syria travelled to the city where Elisha was in order to capture him. The next morning, Elisha’s servant woke up to see this vast army surrounding the city. Consequently, the servant was terrified.

And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15b-17)

Elisha had a perspective that his servant did not have. Only when his servant looked at the situation the same way Elisha did was he able to see what Elisha could see. It is easy to assume that your perspective is the only one. But your perspective may not be accurate. There may be some information that you are not aware of, like Elisha’s servant discovered. What you don’t know can affect how you see the situation. Therefore, it is important for you to be willing to look beyond your own perspective.

Take time to reflect before you pass judgment on your boss or your workplace. Realize that there may be more to the situation than meets your eye.

Stepping back to see the big picture helps you understand how everything at your workplace fits together. This new perspective can help you realize there may be more going on that you were initially aware of, as the new hires discovered at their orientation.

Here are three ways you can look at your role at your workplace to gain a new perspective.