Do you have the right culture to execute your strategy?

We have had a number of clients recently struggling with corporate or team ‘culture’. Some have undergone a recent change in direction or have begun to pursue extremely challenging objectives. Others are faced with a strategy that is stalled or stuck fast in a culture not conducive to success. To the credit of the leaders concerned, most have decided to attack the challenge.

CULTURE = The sum of individual behaviour

Culture is simply the sum of all the behaviours of the people in a company or team. How people act and behave on a daily basis IS the culture of the group.

The key question a leader needs to ask is: How do we need to act and/or behave to execute our strategy effectively?

This can be addressed with a short set of “we will” and “we will not” statements….

WHAT DOES A LEADER NEED TO DO?

1. YOU Decide!

Culture is NOT something you can delegate or decide by committee. First get absolute black and white clarity in your own mind the type of Culture you think is necessary for success. Certainly consult with your Leadership group, or even the front-line to get feedback, but this is your gig, YOU get clear in your own mind first. Be aggressively concise with your words for maximum impact.

2. Be Clear on Expectations

Once you are clear and confident about what you want, communicate your expectations in a simple and straightforward way, you also have to address the consequences of not meeting the behavioural expectations. Hard measures may be needed to achieve the ‘right’ cultural change, make sure you are clear on this.

3. Build Relationships

The key to your success will be the strength of the relationships you can build with the team. Get out of the office. Listen to what people have to say. Reinforce your expectation. Even if you disagree with their comments, it’s an opportunity to make your case in a reasoned way. They are more likely to come on board if you take the time to communicate with them.

Building relationships is critical, because what you are really doing is building a level of respect and respect is the lifeblood of leadership. Without it you are done.

4. Hold Firm

You will get push back. It’s normal, it’s human nature, but you must hold firm. It might take time, it will not happen overnight, but you must hold your course and the reason is simple. As soon as you or any of your leadership group waiver from your stated behaviour expectations, the cracks will appear, the dam wall will fracture and open and you won’t be able to put the water back no matter how hard you try.