In any company, large or small, a culture emerges that can sometimes hamper the implementation of a strategy, launch of a new product, or even regular day to day operations. A good organizational culture promotes open sharing of information, people willing to pitch in to help one another, communication that is open and honest, systems and processes that are clearly defined and effective, continuous improvement that is an organizational priority, the atmosphere promotes fun, celebrates success, and people can influence decisions, and leadership styles are consultative, encouraging, and respected.
Here`s a list of 10 ways to influence a positive culture, increase, productivity and your company`s bottom line:
1. Meetings. Meet because you actually need to. Set an agenda so people are prepared. Be on time, and avoid cancelling meetings often (if you have to cancel, reschedule right away). Run a timely meeting wil clear objectives and take minutes with clear action items and timelines. If people go off-topic, put it in the parking lot to adress next time. Replace your BUT statements with AND. For more on this click here.
2. Communication. Have an environment where people feel comfortable to come and speak to you, or kindly ask them to make an appointment with you. Be honest and share information openly using open body language and language. Use active listening to ensure you understand the concerns people have and use Ruth’s favourite saying “Kindness and curiosity leave no room for anger and resentment”. Keep the rumor mill at bay with open forums and team meetings.
3. Emails. Respond always (when a response is required) and respond in a timely fashion. Keep your emails simple and clear (don’t ramble). Use “Info” or “Action” in the subject line so people can sort and prioritize, pair this with GOOD use of the “To:” and “CC:” lines.
4. Processes. Review your processes often and make sure that you can eliminiate bottlenecks, duplication, and wasted time, effort or resources. Make sure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined so that everyone knows what they are accountable for. Make continual improvement an organizational priority.
5. People. Treat your people well. This means great positive reinforcement and difficult or (important) conversations happen all the time. Formally and informally. The best feedback (constructive or positive) is given immediately after the event. It also means engaging your teams and getting their input and feedback so they feel involved in the overal strategy and direction of the organization.
6. Decisions. Make decisions please. Have a decision making process – set a target, use tools to help guide decisions, get an outsider to facilitate, identify risks and manage accordingly. Nothing frustrates employees and creates a negative work environment when their fearless leaders cannot come to a decision about something.
7. Training. In order for people to feel confident and assured in doing their jobs, make sure they have the training that they need to perform their job duties well. Its great to have a new software system, but everyone needs to know how to use it well and optimize its’ functions.
8. Project Management. Don’t let projects just die. Sometimes a project does have to die, but make sure that it is communicated why it isn’t being completed, and what lessons can be applied for future projects. A good project management strategy means that projects get completed on time, in budget, and successfully meet objectives/
9. Strategic Planning. In order for everyone to be working towards the same vision, the organization has to have a clear vision of where it is going and that each individual player is making steps towards achieving that mission. Make sure your strategic plan engages the team, is communicated clearly and often, and updated regularly to reflect business cycle changes.
10. Fun. Laugh a little. Celebrate your success. Don’t take everything so seriously. You can achieve business objectives AND have fun while you are doing it.
It takes time, but it can be done.
Until next week!