Galia Barhava-Monteith and Marisa Fong explain why it’s important to have an excellent and high-performing culture – not least of which to avoid being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Like us, you may have been thinking a lot about recent events reported in the paper and social media around sexual harassment and bullying. Are you wondering how this happened in organisations that should have known better, and are you concerned about your workplace and/or other workplaces?
To us this was both sad and shocking that these things still happen; we actually thought that here, in ‘Godzone’, we had evolved beyond such obviously awful behaviour.
So, why is it still happening?
You may be wondering – how is it that with everything we read and hear in conventional and social media, and with all the courses being run by big and small companies, why does such behavior still happen? You would think that highly educated, professional and respected members of the community would know better.
So here’s where the rubber hits the road. It is about organisational culture, and what people can get away with in an organisation.
Culture isn’t a nice to have, it’s essential. As the saying goes: “Culture eats strategy for lunch”.
Culture is the operating system in your company; it’s the invisible code that exists.
In the absence of leadership writing and setting that code, your people will create it.
That’s fine if they have the same values as you, but can you leave something so important to chance?
At TBC we are interested in those who get it right. Rather than focus on those who get things so very wrong, we’d rather ask: What do the companies who get it right do?
And, most importantly, how can you tell if you’re one of those companies?
Here’s ‘the tells’:
• Your staff stay.
• You have less than your industry average of sick days.
• They recommend the company to family and friends and actively recruit them if vacancies come up.
• People always approach the company to see if vacancies exist and will go on a waitlist if necessary.
• There’s a common language (phrases, sayings, beliefs) that everyone understands.
• Everyone knows the purpose of the organisation and it’s usually a heart-based mission.
• They recognise the company’s values and behaviours are clearly in line or not.
• High performing staff are celebrated, but they are also corrected if their behavior isn’t consistent with the company’s values.
If you honestly asked yourself what the state of your culture is, would you be able to tell us? How would you rate it?
If you don’t know, then you need to find out.
• Because reputation arrives by foot, but departs on horseback.
• Because we’re in a world facing talent shortages.
• Staff are just as important as customers, if not more so.
• Because you want your organisation to be a shining light, not the warning to others!
There isn’t a lot of point having values splashed all over your wall and hope that it’s enough to get you there. Values need to be brought to life and there are many ways of doing this, authentically and with courage.
Here’s what we’ve observed in clients who have an excellent and high performing culture.
• They understand why they exist (their purpose), and it’s not just about making money or achieving sales figures.
• They only bring in A-players (and know what that looks like for their company).
• There’s a great onboarding process that goes beyond the first few days.
• They build conversations around their values.
• They link positive and negative behaviours to those values.
• They tell great stories about the company, clients and their people that demonstrate their purpose.
• They call out bad behaviour – even if the person is a high performer in terms of sales or earnings, and setting a high bar for performance.
• They have fun and there’s a culture of accountability, but not blame.
• There’s constant coaching and a strong focus on growth.
It’s no coincidence that all of this happens in successful companies. And it makes sense; if people are your greatest asset (that oft quoted phrase) then that’s where the leadership need to spend most of their time and effort.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in the headlines, when profit seems to be the only driver poor behaviour is overlooked when its perpetrated by a high revenue generator. This may work in the short-term, maybe even in the mid-term, but it’s never a sustainable long-term option. Somewhere along the way the organisation and all the good people in it pay for it.
Acceptance equals condoning
What you accept, you condone. Is this something that concerns you? Do you remember examples of a high performing sales person getting away with bad behaviour? Is it something that’s occurring right now in your organisation?
It’s easy to think we’re being alarmist about this and, as a business owner, you may want to bury your head – after all, we have enough to deal with right now.
However, is it ever too soon to want to build a culture that seeks excellence and is self-driven to perform? Isn’t that the pot of gold we all strive for?
If this is something that you’d like to work towards, then contact [email protected] andwe’ll be in touch with our next workshop date. Galia Barhava-Monteith and Marisa Fong are co-owners of TBC Partners.