Every organization faces daily demands that force leadership to determine how best to allocate time and resources. Research and productivity metrics consistently support the prioritization of workplace culture as a proven foundation for ongoing success. Yet, too often other seemingly pressing tasks are more likely to receive attention.
Company resources are allocated to reaction, instead of culture.
Business Is a Reflection of Values
Some businesses have managed to build a customer base so loyal that, if asked to accept a substitute product or experience, those customers would answer, “NO!” While this level of loyalty is certainly supported by those products or experiences, it typically goes deeper than that.
A majority of customers attribute the way a company does business and the company’s culture as important factors in their loyalty. This only demonstrates that, when an organization’s internal culture is positive and supportive, the effects extend far beyond its walls.
Customers, suppliers, and investors will all seek ongoing affiliations with companies that operate on a level above their competitors. The cornerstone necessary to thrive in the marketplace is a commitment to a supportive culture. As a matter of fact, the best way to invest in the long-term success of any organization is to put internal culture first.
Small Things Done Relentlessly Well
Great cultures do not emerge from thin air. They don’t materialize when convenient. Instead, if a company has a workplace culture that produces high levels of internal satisfaction, efficiency, and productivity, it’s because culture was prioritized and the steps necessary to support it were ritualized.
Want to demonstrate a commitment to the growth and success of your team members? Make an intentional switch from yearly evaluations to regular, (at least monthly) formative interactions on individual performance.
You also want to authentically acknowledge the efforts of your team members. By doing this, you are contributing to the entire team’s success as well. Many highly successful companies set aside time each week to share how work colleagues have helped each other be more impactful. When the stars of a team are encouraged to recognize the work of support staff, it goes a long way toward making a team feel like a team.
Whatever the steps you take to support your organization’s values and internal culture, it’s important you perform them consistently and in an authentic manner. Nothing erodes a workplace culture faster than half-hearted programs executed inauthentically.
Conversely, if you make a genuine effort to grow and support your internal culture, that culture will thrive and become a point of great pride for your team members.
Practicing When the Pressure is Off
Consider implementing highly effective practices when the pressure on your team is low. These could include activities such as collectively analyzing and solving low-stakes issues. These types of practices can be key supports to an internal culture when difficult times arrive.
Help your team members learn what it looks like to calmly and effectively work through problems without devolving into blame, accusations, or other self-defeating patterns.
That way, when a challenging situation occurs, your commitment to internal culture will be on full display. Just as successful leaders are calm in a crisis, so is a team where the members are confident in each other. When they’ve already enjoyed success in supporting their colleagues, they’re much more likely to weather a large challenge and emerge ready to perform.
Building a culture and practicing the pieces that bring it to life can feel like just another item on your list of responsibilities. But, with practice and commitment, that culture quickly becomes an essential part of your team’s experience and, as a result, also inspires high levels of customer loyalty. Every moment you invest into culture will pay great dividends when challenges arise.
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Tim, with his extensive background in education and management, is a great part of our Fired Up! team dedicated to inspiring teams and leaders. At Fired Up!, our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams, and align operation practices to engage organizations and drive breakthrough results.