Our people were always important in our business. But it was not until 1989 that I got intentional about it.
For years I had focused on:
• Wing-dinger innovative service offerings (I was “Mr. Idea Man”)
• And having efficient, smooth-running operations through rules, policies, and bureaucratic procedures
You see, I was going after predictability and performance (results). I was focused on strategy.
In 1987, I got intentional about focusing on our people, over and above any policy, system, or strategy. I was beginning to learn what management guru Peter Drucker already knew.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
I began to understand that if I had a culture that focused on our people, they helped me pursue and achieve the financial results I was looking for.
I also began to see each individual as not just an employee but as a creation of Christ.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV
I learned when I began to have our people participate in decisions, created a family atmosphere, and helped develop them, they gave back in ways I did not anticipate. They responded with –
• Mutual trust
Every leader can appropriately focus on culture if they understand the following four benefits of an inspired organizational culture.
An inspired organizational culture:
Attracts high-performing people (and keeps them)
A strong, positive culture can be your best form of marketing. Top performers gravitate to organizations where they can contribute and feel appreciated. A strong culture broadcasts a message of opportunity to best-in-field people.
Creates a united team
An inspired workplace culture draws your people together in pursuit of common goals and outcomes. This creates a cohesiveness and unity that enables your team to effectively respond to difficulties and capitalize on new opportunities.
Increases employees’ sense of well-being
Research by Deloitte links a strong workplace culture to employee happiness and satisfaction. Employees feel happier when they share a strong sense of purpose and core values with their co-workers.
Boosts financial performance
Several studies (including one conducted by Booz & Company and the Bertelsmann Foundation in 2004) indicate a correlation between financial results and a strong, inspiring organizational culture. John Katzenbach, with Booz & Co., states:
Culture can become a ‘secret weapon’ that makes extraordinary things happen.
The benefits of strong cultures are clear. They attract high-performing people, create united teams, increase employee happiness, and boost financial performance.
Most companies’ cultures develop over time through happenstance instead of through intentional decisions filtered through the core values of the organization. You can begin to be intentional about your culture by asking the following questions:
1) Do you consistently attract best-of-class talent?
2) What is your turnover rate? How does it compare with the best organizations in your industry?
3) Do your people enjoy their jobs and workplace? How do you know?
4) Is your company in the top tier of performance, efficiency, and profit in your market segment?
How do your answers to these questions help you understand your current culture?