I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW IF WE COULD HAVE DONE THIS AS WELL IF WE DIDN’T HAVE SOME FOUNDATIONAL PIECES FOR US TO GO BACK TO.
– Dr. Natalie Harder, Community College Executive Leader | EP 67: Move Forward by Doing the Next Right Thing
Throughout these challenging uncertain times, one thing has consistently proven true: establishing a strong culture before disruption is the glue that has held teams together. During recent conversations with leaders across the country, we heard about successful responses to the COIVD-19 pandemic. As these conversations continued, one thing became clear: culture is the foundation for their team’s success.
THE ROLE OF CULTURE DURING UNCERTAINTY
In times of disruption or change we find people seek familiar situations or language, a sense of stability and individuals and resources they trust. As a leader, leaning on our organizational culture to provide familiarity, consistency and support for our communities and employees can help lower anxiety and emotional reactions.
If you search for a collective, concrete definition of culture it’s likely you will find many answers. Our culture is driven by leaders, the service our organizations provide to others and the collective behaviors of all individuals within the organization. Organizational culture is a living element walking the halls of organizations and embedded in messages, meetings and communication with one another.
Leaders can help create and lead the culture of an organization, or they may choose to ignore it. Regardless, it will still exist. You can find hundreds of studies on the benefits of curating organizational culture. The HBR article Proof that Positive Work Cultures are More Productive sites several, in fact. Nurturing an organization’s culture results in better problem-solving, a focus on improvement, outstanding customer service, an engaged workforce and a collective mindset of success. It’s hard to argue that culture doesn’t influence performance, customer satisfaction and sales.
To withstand disruption, teams need strong leaders who focus their messages using empathy, hope and vulnerability. During an Accelerate Your Performance podcast interview with Quint Studer, he explains that leaders should recognize the downside of difficult situations with their teams and then focus on action. Leaders who face the challenges head-on and explain what teams can accomplish together convey a “we’re going to get through this” vision for employees to follow.
Culture is the foundation our partner teams used to successfully transition their organizations to virtual work, instruction and learning within days.
Now is a great time to get started. If you don’t have it in place, defining with your team what customer success looks like and maybe, even more importantly today in this crisis, what does an engaged workforce look like? How are you going to measure it and how are you going to build that culture? Because that investment for us in the past few years is paying dividends— literally hourly— for us. – Dale Shaver, Director of Parks and Land Use, Waukesha County | EP 68: Focus on the Positive
USING THE NINE PRINCIPLES® TO BUILD CULTURE
The Nine Principles® for Organizational Excellence are the guiding beliefs and standards of practice that can be used to support excellence in any organization. Quint Studer developed the Nine Principles® to provide organizations, and thus the individual, with a sequenced process to attain the organization’s desired results-a road map to help organizations navigate the journey to develop a success-based culture.
Leaders can use the Nine Principles® to build a culture of high performers who collaborate and thrive during times of disruption. These tactics and tools support the long-term goal of hardwiring each principle within your organization, creating the culture necessary to withstand disruption. Assembling strong cultures brings teams together, allowing innovation to thrive and establishing the resilience necessary for future challenges.
The following series of articles provide insight and tools for leaders who wish to use the Nine Principles® to build a culture that withstands disruption.
Principle 1: Commit to Excellence
Set high expectations to achieve results while living out mission and values.
Principle 2: Measure the Important Things
Continuously track progress to achieve results with an improvement mindset.
Principle 3: Build a Culture Around Service
Connect services to organizational values.
Principle 4: Develop Leaders to Develop People
Coach people to be their best at work.
Principle 5: Focus on Employee Engagement
Attend to aspirations and desires in the workplace.
Principle 6: Be Accountable
Commit to individual accountability to achieve organizational goals.
Principle 7: Align Behaviors with Goals and Values
Apply consistent practices to move the organization in a positive direction.
Principle 8: Communicate at All Levels
People know why what they do matters.
Principle 9: Recognize and Reward Success
Value and appreciate people working together to get results.
EP 67: Move Forward by Doing the Next Right Thing
with Natalie Harder
EP 68: Focus on the Positive
with Dale Shaver