“Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.” —Tony Hsieh
By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM
As we approach the start of a new year, it’s the perfect opportunity to set a goal for developing a healthy culture in your organization in 2015. Now, of course, merely setting a goal is not nearly enough, but laying out a plan is a great starting point. While many leaders view culture as the latest buzzword in organizational leadership, the truth is, your culture may have a bigger impact on the performance of your organization than any other single factor. Culture drives success; your culture impacts your level of engagement, growth, and innovation. Your culture determines the on-the-ground actions, behaviors, and decisions of your employees. A healthy culture does not happen by accident, it is intentionally developed. So, what can you do to start developing a healthy culture in 2015?
Set the example
Rupert Murdoch told us, “In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example – and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.” As the leader, you are the one responsible for creating the culture in your organization. Focus on the positive behaviors you want to see in your organization and then set the example for others to follow. Show people that you value the employees at every level of the organization. Help them see that their actions and decisions have value. Communicate respectfully and authentically. Then, celebrate small achievements.
Help them grow
Benjamin Franklin believed, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” If you want to have a healthy culture you must invest in the development of your employees. This shows them that they are valued. Help them to build positive self-identities. Offer them the opportunity to design their own work. Make learning something to be celebrated. Show them the trust it takes to allow them to learn from mistakes without fear. Encourage them to participate in the decision-making in your organization.
Share your values
Your culture is based on group norms of behavior; shared values are what keep those norms in place. Roy E. Disney said, “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” Share your values with your employees. Help them see how these values play into the long-term focus of the organization. Then, help them understand the importance of the role they play in that focus. Once you share your values you can start to develop shared, healthy organizational habits.
Healthy Culture/Happy Employees
James Sinegal explained, “When employees are happy, they are your very best ambassadors.” Develop a healthy culture that will keep your employees happy. Set the example, help them grow, and share your values. Connect meaning and value to them as individuals and to the tasks they perform for your organization. Remember, your culture will influence the actions, behaviors, and decisions of every employee. Make intentionally developing a healthy culture in 2015 a priority and see what success you can achieve.
© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli
Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.
Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.