Actively engaging your people in culture conversations is a great way to make the culture come alive, share ideas on how to strengthen it, swap stories about culture in action, and discuss how culture is driving decisions and actions in everyday work. These conversations shouldn't be forced as culture sessions but instead they should be natural questions like "how are our values impacting the choices we make?" as part of broader performance discussions.
- Culture needs to be a conversation. Actively engaging people in culture conversations is a great way to make culture come alive. You can share ways to strengthen it. You can share stories about culture in action. Most importantly discuss how culture drives decisions and actions in everyday work. These conversations shouldn't be forced as culture sessions. Instead, they should be natural questions, like, how are our values impacting the choices we make? Make this part of a broader performance conversation.
There are ways you can make this happen naturally. When making decisions, tell people how culture should drive the choice you make. When communicating decisions, explain how culture impacted the choice you made. During town halls or Q&A sessions, use culture to frame how you talk about strategy, initiatives, and performance. Highlight how choices consistent with culture resulted in financial and operational performance. When talking with your associates don't ask about projects and results, ask how well you're living the culture, and what changes need to be made in what areas that are inconsistent with culture.
Make and communicate those changes. I know one leader who had two team members who were arguing with one another. Each team member went to this leader separately and asked him to resolve the conflict. He said, "That's not going to work." He pulled them both in a room and he said "Look, I know you two are arguing. I could resolve this, I don't think that's the right answer. What I would like to remind you of, is our values and our culture. And in our culture relationships matter, and we value open and honest feedback.
That's the culture that we live and try to build. So given that, I think the two of you need to go off and have a conversation, and resolve your issue in a manner that's going to keep your relationship intact. Heck, I hope it improves your relationship." The associates realized he's right and they went off and they spoke about it and they resolved their issue. And in that moment, that leader, strengthened the culture of that organization, if only a little bit, and he helped his team members understand how culture shows up in day-to-day interactions.
How are you going to make your culture a conversation? What opportunities do you have to reinforce culture with your associates everyday.
- Identify the components of high-performing cultures.
- Assess and evaluate your current culture.
- Define high performance.
- Create a compelling vision and mission.
- Compare and contrast communication vehicles.
- Explain what culture is and list ways to reinforce it.
- Identify tools for measuring and balancing results.