It does not matter if you are a startup or well-established organization, the ability to build a healthy culture and environment is possible. It does not matter if the leaders within your organization are perceived (or actual) tyrants, you can change the culture and leadership model that guides every employee, including the tyrant. Yes, the overall culture and leadership model must come from the top-down in order to gain real traction, so if you aren’t a senior leader or don’t have access to the decision-makers, then just post this where they will have access to it.
The natural thing to do is to look at all of the things you can’t stand about your organization, its culture, and how leaders lead within. But you should actually first look at your organization’s strengths, and the things that you like most about it and its people. If you are a startup you need to sit back and consider what has brought you and your team together to start this organization? Why has each team member been selected and why did they want to join the startup? What did you see in other organizations that you wanted to replicate?
If you are an established company ask yourself the following questions: What makes your company and employees great? How has your company made it this far? What attracted employees to your organization? What makes employees stay? What makes customers keep coming back? What connects and bonds the employees?
If you could create the best organization how would it be? What would other employees say? If you don’t know what they would say, then ask them. Share these questions with them to gain their insight of the ideal organization and work environment? Now sit back and consider your ideal environment:
- How does it feel when you enter the office?
- What are the sights, sounds, and smells that you experience?
- What is the color scheme?
- What do you want from your employees and customers?
- What is the desired energy of your work environment?
- Is your office space light and airy or dark and closed-off?
- How does your team interact daily in this environment?
- How often are company-wide activities and events planned?
- How often do employees spend time together socializing outside of the office?
- How often are team-building activities planned?
Now let’s go deeper…
- When conflict arises, how is it handled?
- How do employees handle competition?
- How does your team accept and embrace change?
- How are employees selected for hire?
- How are promotions executed?
- When employees receive promotions how do others handle the news?
- How do co-workers handle the transition when a fellow co-worker becomes their manager?
- How does the newly promoted manager adjust to their new role?
- How are managers viewed and treated in your organization?
- How are senior leaders viewed and treated?
- How are entry-level employees viewed and treated?
- How do employees engage with customers?
Visualize the typical sticking points, but consider how things would be in your ideal setting…
- How do you measure productivity?
- How do employees interact with each other?
- How do employees handle conflict?
- How are mistakes handled/resolved?
- How do managers interact with other employees?
- How do senior leaders address their concerns with all employees?
- Is it ever acceptable for any person (regardless of title or seniority) to scream and/or use profanity in your workplace?
- Is name-calling ever acceptable within your organization?
- How are employees ‘reprimanded’?
- How are employees rewarded?
- How does your company address and execute constructive criticism?
Now after visualizing your ideal organization, what is the reality of your company’s environment and culture?
Answer the same questions listed above but now seeing things as you (and other employees) experience them today. Once again, if you don’t know how other employees view your company, then you need to ask them, share these questions with them and get their honest feedback.
What did you notice that was different? In what ways can you move your company more towards the ideal? Do you know how to take the next steps? Have you considered contracting with professionals to assist you with this transition?
Among the many services that we provide, Foreman & Associates, LLC also assists organizations with transitions in culture, environment, and organizational change. We help you to take the necessary steps towards the more ideal. Moving towards ideal takes into consideration the needs of all of your stakeholders, increases productivity, encourages internal bonding, reduces turnover, lowers your overall cost, and makes your organization the place where everyone is excited to work and do business there.
Let us be of assistance to you and your organization. Contact us today.
Foreman & Associates, LLC