The Missing Link in Your Culture Conversations
Because "culture" is a fairly broad and messy concept, we are generally content to keep the conversation about it broad and messy. We say we want a high-performance culture where we hold people accountable and achieve excellence. Okay. But what does any of that really mean? And how, exactly, are you NOT doing that now? These conversations we have about culture lack clarity. We don't define the terms that we throw around, and we frequently don't even connect the words we're using with the actual, day-to-day actions we're taking.
Culture is real, people. It's based in observable, tangible words, actions, and stuff around the office. And it has a real impact on how things get done and whether or not your organization is succeeding. If you really want to work on culture, then you need to be disciplined about getting clarity on all that. As I say in Chapter 6 of my new ebook:
It starts with clarity. You can’t just declare your culture to be dysfunctional and then try to rally people around making it somehow “better.” You need a clear picture of what a strong culture looks like. You need a clear understanding of how that strong culture actually impacts organizational performance. And you also need a clear (and honest) understanding of what your culture is right now. That will enable you to focus your change efforts in ways that make the most difference.
Don't be afraid of these conversations, and be prepared for some conflict. If you haven't clarified your culture before, you're going to uncover some very different pictures of what your organization really is. But working through that conflict is the first step to clarity, and the first step to a stronger culture.