How to build an intentional culture, part 2
This is the second installment in a three-part series on building an intentional workplace culture. What tips and suggestions do you have for building a better organizational culture? Join us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn this week to share your thoughts. Andrea Davis, Managing Editor
Commentary: In my last post on building an intentional culture, I emphasized that culture is the single most important factor in an organizations success or failure. And it really is because it enables strategy. This is why its so important to be intentional about your culture and to align it with your business strategy.
I also outlined the first three steps in building an intentional culture, which focus on acknowledging that culture exists in your company, explaining why it matters, defining it and educating your people on cultural expectations. Once youve opened a dialogue and set some parameters, its time to up the ante. Heres how, with steps 4-6:
4. Hold people accountable for the culture and set some metrics. I know, measurement isnt everyones cup of tea. But its so important to hold people accountable for living the culture, particularly leadership. If youre building an open culture, are executives readily accessible (preferably not locked behind closed doors or glass walls)? If you have a culture of improvement as we do at Limeade do people have the resources to grow both personally and professionally? Are they setting challenging but attainable goals, meeting with mentors and improving their performance every quarter? Include these metrics in performance reviews (the more frequent, the better we prefer quarterly at Limeade) to emphasize the importance of walking the culture walk. You might also consider building a culture index (a small set of survey items that are custom to the culture youre trying to achieve) into your employee survey. Another option is to develop a developmental 360 for leaders and managers that provide feedback on how well theyre demonstrating the culture.
5. Empower your culture champions. In every organization, there are always respected leaders both formal and informal who are great ambassadors of your culture. Make sure these culture rock stars know theyre regarded for upholding the culture, give them free rein to align their management or work style, and consider how you might formally and informally recognize them as culture keepers.
6. Communicate regularly about the culture. This goes back to being upfront and acknowledging that a culture exists in your company and that the organization is being intentional about it. Tell your people that its key to your success. Tell them how it aligns with and enables your business strategy and why its critical that everyone takes ownership for living the culture. Feature employees who are culture champions maybe even hold a contest asking people to nominate others who are models for living the culture. And make sure communications align with your culture as well if your organization is more formal and structured, your communications should be as well. If things are more casual and on-the-fly, the tone of your communications should reflect that.
Once youve got accountability, metrics, champions and communications in place, its time to really weave your culture through the organization. In the next post, well look at how to reinforce the culture to propel you further toward business success.
Laura Hamill, Ph.D., ischief people officer with Limeade.