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A dynamic, healthy company culture is perhaps the greatest competitive advantage that a business can have. The best cultures attract and retain the best talent. Plus, culture helps your team perform at a higher level, too.
In charting the course toward a great company culture, I suggest leaders treat culture like they do their product. Culture is an ongoing process that needs to be managed and takes time for iteration and learning.
However, that isn’t to say there aren’t things you can do today to level up your company culture. Here are three simple and powerful choices that leaders can make to build a more effective company culture.
1. Upgrade your conversations.
Culture begins and ends with the connections between your people. While some of those connections will be unique depending on your company, I’ve noticed that there are a few consistent patterns among well-connected teams, which include:
• Taking responsibility for your actions (versus skirting accountability).
• Focusing on learning (versus always being right).
• Showing appreciation for one another.
• Resolving tensions (versus sweeping them under the rug).
You can experiment with upgrading your conversations right now with your team. Here are a few prompts that might help:
• Is there something for which you need to take responsibility with a teammate?
• Is there a recent key learning experience that you could share with someone?
• To whom can you show a sign of appreciation?
2. Give out the ‘magic wand.’
Leaders tend to have blindspots around the day-to-day experiences that their team is having. So, the next time you bump into someone in the kitchen, invite them to share their experience.
A key to getting real feedback is to make it safe for that person to be honest. To make this easier, one playful strategy I suggest is to give that person a “magic wand.” Then, let them do whatever they’d like with it. You get to learn in the process. Here are a few of my favorite magic-wand questions:
• “If I gave you a magic wand and you could change one thing about how we work together, what would it be?” (Give them permission to comment broadly across the entire business.)
• “If you had a magic wand, what one thing would most help you in your work here?” (Give them permission to share how they might be under-resourced.)
• “If you had a magic wand, what is one thing you would change about our onboarding processes?” (This is a more zoomed-in question that helps new team members reflect on their onboarding experience.)
Using the magic wand, you’ll get all sorts of unique insights on where there’s room for improvement culturally.
3. Go offsite.
You might not be able to do this one today, but you can certainly schedule your next offsite before the end of the day. A great company culture requires intentional effort from leadership to chart the course. Use leadership team offsites to step away from the day-to-day hustle and create space for building company culture.
Using a simple framework like: Start (“What should we start doing to have the culture we want?”), Stop (“What should we stop doing to have the culture we want?”) and Continue (“What is working that we should continue doing to have the culture we want?”) can surface powerful opportunities for building your culture.
Use these high-level methods today to build your culture, but don’t forget that you need to play the long game on culture. Leaders who show up every day with a focus on dynamic, healthy company culture are the ones who win.
May 14, 2019 at 09:04AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs