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Five Critical Components of Business to Ensure Operational Excellence – Business Operations Performance Management

Five Critical Components of Business to Ensure Operational Excellence – Business Operations Performance Management

In the day-to-day busyness of business, it is very easy to get mired in transactional stuff and lose sight of your mission and the reason you are in business and why you do what you do. How much more effective the organization would be and how superior the results if every person working on every task in the company can link it upwards stage by stage to the overall vision for the company ? If the person went home every day with a sense of fulfillment through finding Meaning in Work and knowing that his/her work contributed to a higher purpose? A shared vision is a very powerful motivator for people and operational excellence is possible only when there is a critical mass of people for whom business is personal.

Wishful thinking? Not really, when you consider that many studies have proved beyond a doubt that meaningful work leads to personal happiness, professional success AND profitable growth for the organization that provides this (clarity of vision, mission and inter-linkage to the efforts at ground-level).

So, how do you align your day-to-day business operations to ensure that you and your people are finding meaning in work? It all comes down to how well you have thought through, communicated and implemented these components of business:

Business Component #1: Vision Statement – A vision statement has the potential to become a rallying cry, a clarion call to unite every person in the company towards a higher purpose. Too often, vision statements are not clear enough or even inspiring enough to really become the powerful tool that it can be. Consider Nelson Mandela’s statement – “one team, one country” or Microsoft’s in the 90s – “A computer on every desk and in every home; all running Microsoft software.” A bold, definitive statement that shows people the destination and the purpose of their work is the starting point for everything. Coupled with a clear guidance on values and desired behaviours, a great vision statement can truly work to drive excellence in the organization. Read how Zappos.com CEO focused his team from “needing to motivate people to get things done” to “inspiring them to want to do things beyond expectations” (and so successfully) here.

Business Component #2: Strategic Planning – This is the next step, moving from the “where” to the how. A good strategic plan provides the map to achieve the vision. Working through the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, it should outline the actions that need to be taken to meet the goals. The plan should have clarity (admittedly difficult in the flux that exists in business today) and well-defined accountability and timelines so that it becomes clear and easy for everyone in the company to enable them in the decisions they need to make today to arrive at  to where the organization needs to be tomorrow. You will know if your strategic plan is clear if people around you understand what the story is – what leadership wants to do. Also, a strategic plan is not just about the future, referred to regularly, it can also be quite useful in assessing the current issues that are causing problems. Have a long-term strategy but refresh the plans operationally in shorter term periods so that the plan remains achievable and is not completely disconnected from reality.

Business Component #3: Budgeting – I call this “putting your money where your mouth is” or walking the talk. There is no point having a strategy if you are not willing to invest in it. This is where strategic planning gets transformed to operational realities. The budgets should be completely aligned to the strategic plan and not just the target numbers – in the short term and the long term – and thus serve as the guideline for communicating and executing on the business strategy. Break down the budget into tasks with timelines, identify the stakeholders best suited for each task, align existing processes and design new processes to ensure sustainability in advance. Assign accountability within the organization not just at the senior levels but right up to the front-line staff to ensure everyone knows and is signed up for the budget.  This helps in providing a clear line of sight for achieving the budget and hence the vision while building confidence in the budget within the organization itself.

Business Component #4: Measurements or Metrics – Numbers keep you honest provided they are not manipulated. Metrics help measure the effectiveness of the plan and the execution but is important to measure what is important :). Care must be taken to set metrics that actually drive the desired behaviors and do not risk people running after the wrong goals. The choices of key metrics need to be reviewed periodically – business is dynamic, why should metrics remain static? What makes sense to measure in today’s scenario may be irrelevant tomorrow. Also, it is not enough to measure, you also need to act. No metric is useful unless there is an action plan that arrives out of it and is communicated and implemented with urgency. Otherwise, a metric becomes just another number on a report that nobody pays attention to till it is too late. Metrics also serve the purpose of “milestones” or “scoreboards” for your vision to keep a track of the successes along the journey, create competitive spirit  and very importantly, serve as reasons to celebrate wins along the way.

Business Component #5: Execution – And finally, the most difficult part of the process – execution and execution at the speed that is needed. Larry Bossidy, the former CEO at Allied Signal, Inc. and Honeywell, and the co-author of Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, said it like this: “Corporate strategies are intellectually simple; their execution is not. The question is, can you execute? That’s what differentiates one company from another.”  I have written about getting things done in complex organizations earlier – the point in this context is injecting the right “dose” of urgency into the organization. Spread energy and enthusiasm into the organization through the execution phases to generate alignment, urgency, and engagement in a majority of employees in the organization – to answer the “what is in it for me” question and to make the work “personal” and hence drive operational excellence through meaning.

The common important thread through all the above is of course, the culture that is built, lived and sustained throughout the organization – without the right culture, you may set everything up perfectly but the desired outcome will be far from reality. If people do not feel they have a safe environment or that there is mutual trust and respect, the energy gets drained out battling office politics, pacifying egos management and conflict management. There is no energy left for people who wish for meaning in their work, look for it and work towards it in their everyday activities. Operational excellence becomes a mirage. As Louis Gerstner said – ‘I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game—it is the game.’

What have you seen worked in finding meaning in work in your organization? What vision statements do you think are great examples? How do you give meaning to your own work? I would love to hear and learn from you.

Pic Courtesy : http://www.flickr.com/photos/dunechaser/4395780325/

Key Employee Engagement Strategies for Talent Retention

Key Employee Engagement Strategies for Talent Retention

For any business to be successful, it must have three things: a robust overall strategy, exceptional leaders, and engaged employees. This society has moved from an economy driven by the agricultural and manufacturing industries to a service oriented, personally connected economy.

One hundred years ago, employees were tasked with manual labor and had no vested interest in the business that employed them.

Today, with the demand for highly skilled talent, it is essential for employers and leaders to engage their employees and make them feel as if they are an integral part of the business.

In the past we wrote a blog post on employee engagement which was received with a lot of positive response by our readers – Five Must-Dos to Improve Employee Engagement – Transform the Zombies into Humans. We follow-up, with this guest post which analyzes employee engagement in a more recent context, and does so quite effectively.  John Hawthorne backs his insights with research on the key employee engagement strategies that stay relevant today.

Employee Engagement Most Recent Data

In 2017, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report revealed that only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs – meaning that they are emotionally invested in committing their time, talent, and energy to adding value to their team and advancing the organization’s initiatives.

This means that the majority of employees show low overall engagement. Workplace productivity was low and employees and organizations are not keeping up with workplace demands fast enough.

More Gallup research shows that employee disengagement costs the United States upwards of $550 billion a year in lost productivity. As employee engagement strategies become more commonplace, there is an amazing opportunity for companies that learn to master the art of engagement.

Jacob Shriar, in a piece on OfficeVibe, tells us that

  • Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually.
  • Highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.
  • Highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.
  • Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.
  •  Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.
  • Customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged.

These statistics are just the beginning of why employee engagement is so important.

Why Is Employee Engagement So Important?

The term “engagement” has been used so often and in so many different situations that it’s become hard to define. Many people think it means happiness or satisfaction, but it’s much more than that.

According to Gallup, who has been collecting and measuring employee engagement data for nearly 20 years: “Though there have been some slight ebbs and flows, less than one-third of U.S. employees have been engaged in their jobs and workplaces.”

Imagine if every employee was passionate about seeing the company and its customers succeed. The only true way to ensure that your customers are well taken care of is by taking care of your employees. This is known as the service-profit chain, a concept first introduced by Harvard Business Review in 1998. It’s still as relevant today as it was then.

Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers.

The service-profit chain is the flow from the culture you create to the profits you generate and every step in between. The key is to start internally. When you create an environment where employees are happy, productive, autonomous, and passionate about what they do, they’ll provide better service to your customers.

That amazing service will create many loyal customers, leading to sustainable growth and profits. That’s why it’s important for every leader in an organization to understand the service-profit chain and how each step impacts the other.

Key Employee Engagement Strategies

Organizations need to pay attention to specific priorities to engage employees. Employees are more likely to become truly engaged and involved in their work if your workplace provides these factors.

Employee engagement must be a business strategy that focuses on finding engaged employees, then keeping the employee engaged throughout the whole employment relationship. Employee engagement must focus on business results. Employees are most engaged when they are accountable, and can see and measure the outcomes of their performance.

Employee engagement occurs when the goals of the business are aligned with the employee’s goals and how the employee spends his or her time.

The glue that holds the strategic objectives of the employee and the business together is frequent, effective communication that reaches and informs the employee at the level and practice of his or her job.

Engaged employees have the information that they need to understand exactly and precisely how what they do at work every day affects the company’s business goals and priorities. (These goals and measurements relate to the Human Resources department, but every department should have a set of metrics.)

Employee engagement exists when organizations are committed to management and leadership development in performance development plans that are performance-driven and provide clear succession plans.

When businesses actively pursue employee engagement through these factors, employee engagement soars to a ratio of 9:1 employees from 2:1 employees with concurrent improvements in the business success.

Employee Engagement Examples

There are of course many ways to show your employees they are valued, and to keep them focused and engaged on company success. According to Forbes, there are certain items in the benefit package that will help in creating employee engagement:

  • Health Insurance
  • Company Parties (social engagement)
  • Gifts (new babies, appreciation luncheons)

Employees go home to different roles–parent, caregiver to a loved one, a church or civic leader, spouse, bandmate, freelancer, artist, neighbor–and the people they are closest to impact their lives and perspectives about work in meaningful ways. Acknowledging those relationships and showing they are a priority will increase employee engagement.

How to Improve Employee Engagement

In a recent article in Forbes, Brent Gleeson, a former navy seal and successful businessman, gives solid advice on ways to improve employee engagement.

When managers are engaged, their team members can confidently state the following:

  • I know what is expected of me and my work quality.
  • I have the resources and training to thrive in my role.
  • I have the opportunity to do what I do best – every day.
  • I frequently receive recognition, praise and constructive criticism.
  • I trust my manager and believe they have my best interests in mind.
  • My voice is heard and valued.
  • I clearly understand the mission and purpose and how I contribute to each.
  • I have opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally.

The steps for improving engagement aren’t complex, they simply must be prioritized. This means engagement must be a core function of the manager’s role. The following steps can help the manager to accomplish this.

Step 1 – Put Everyone in the Right Role

Again, get the right people on the bus and make sure they are in the right roles. This means that all talent acquisition and retention strategies have to be aligned with meeting company goals.

Step 2 – Give Them the Training

No manager or leader can expect to build a culture of trust and accountability — and much less improve engagement —without setting the team up for success. This means providing the proper training and development while removing obstacles.

Step 3 – Task Meaningful Work

Engaged employees are doing meaningful work and have a clear understanding of how they contribute to the company’s mission, purpose and strategic objectives. Again, this is why they first have to be placed in the right role. I’ve made the mistake of hiring great talent just to get them in the door – but didn’t have a clear career path or role for them. If you don’t sort those details out quickly, they will leave.

Step 4 – Check in Often

The days of simply relying on mid-year reviews for providing feedback are long gone. Today’s workforce craves regular feedback — which of course leads to faster course correction and reduces waste. Use both formal and informal check-in strategies — and use them every week.

Step 5 – Frequently Discuss Engagement

Successful managers are transparent in their approach to improving engagement — they talk about it with their teams all the time. They hold “state of engagement” meetings and “engage” everyone in the discussion — and solutions.

Again, these principles are not complex, but must be prioritized. Companies that get this right will drive greater financial returns, surpass their competitors, and easily climb to the top of “the best places to work” lists.

Are Your Employees Engaged?

Employee engagement is critical to the success of any business. When a business has engaged and invested employees, it is in their best interest to protect the productivity and profitability of the business, and the image the business has in the community. Engagement also results in employee retention, which saves the business money in turnover and training. There is no downside to getting your employees engaged and invested in your business.

John Hawthorne is a health nut from Canada with a passion for travel and taking part in humanitarian efforts. His writing not only solves a creative need it has also lead to many new opportunities when traveling abroad. This article was originally published on Floship.com, you can read it here.

Aligning Personal and Professional Goals

Aligning Personal and Professional Goals

Aligning your personal goals, with your professional goals is a remarkable way of achieving more in everything you do. Introducing this into your mode of working brings about not only professional satisfaction, but also a genuine sense of productivity in your day-to-day life. You realize that you are doing not just what you are ‘supposed’ to do, but also what you ‘want’ to do.

At times our personal and professional goals may be compatible, however, at time they may be extremely diverse by themselves. Regardless, it is possible to achieve the balance, and here is how –

1.Having a clear idea of your organisational goals

The first thing to do, before you can achieve a parallel between the organisational and personal goals, is knowing with utmost clarity what the organisational goals are. To set your own goal framework, you need to have a sound knowledge of what the larger organisational objectives are. In order to do this, you can revisit the definition of your role and the expectations from the same. It is also important to pay due attention to this fundamental step because unless your professional goals are met, it will be difficult for you to balance your personal goals.

2. Knowing what you want from the organisation

Besides having a clear idea of the organisational goals, and what the organisation expects from you, it is equally important to have your set of expectations from the organisation. Having this parameter in place is a crucial way to check the growth you envisioned for yourself, versus the actual growth you experience. This gives you a reality check every time you need it. As is only fair, you must keep reminding yourself of your objectives and reasons when you joined this organisation. This reminder serves as a way to map your path for the present and the future.

3. Building Focus

Focus is the one thing that is in extremely short supply in the present times, thanks to the myriad distractions all around us. To be able to maximize our potential in whatever we choose to do, we need to sustain our focus on one thing at a time. Building focus comes only with practice. Mostly by building an awareness of when your focus drifts, and bringing it back to where it should be.

4. Prioritizing

Not all things that are there on your to-do lists demand the same amount of priority. Understanding your priorities and building a habit of delivering accordingly is a prerequisite towards achieving compatibility between your personal and professional goals. At times your personal goals may be the priority and it is important to recognize this and act upon it. A lack of prioritization leads to an imbalance which will affect both your personal and professional growth.

5. Being Decisive

While being able to align personal and professional goals is indeed an achievement, it does not come easy. To be able to achieve this, you may have to make some tough, but important decisions along the way. Recognizing the need for this and acting upon it is not easy, but essential. Goals are dynamic, they keep changing as you grow and with the varied work-life experiences you have. Recognizing the need for change, and acting on bringing it about by being decisive is a very important factor for growth.

Aligning your personal goals with professional goals provide you direction and you begin to understand what your work is worth, and how your performance affects the organisation. This gives you a benchmark to reach the optimal level of satisfaction when it comes to achieving your goals. One of the most important advantages of aligning these goals with each other, is making your expectations from yourself (and the organization’s expectations from you) visible.

Ever tried aligning your personal and professional goals? Tell us what worked and what didn’t, right here! Wish you happy productivity, and happy in the now!

Personal Branding – Why it Matters and How you Can Get There

Personal Branding – Why it Matters and How you Can Get There

Today, personal branding matters more than it ever did not only because of the significant market value it carries with it, but also because of the opportunities it offers. Personal branding done right can open more doors for you than you ever imagined.

The business dictionary defines branding as: “The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.”

And for a long time, that’s exactly what branding entailed. However, with the advent of social media, branding has become everybody’s business. Today, we’re all acting as our own ambassadors. Whether you are an entrepreneur, an artist, a social worker, a writer, or even a job seeker, paying attention to and working on your own personal brand can be rewarding in multiple ways.

In the age of social media, it matters to be visible. Whether it is you, or your homegrown business, without visibility it is impossible to gain traction. Personal branding is a method of making yourself visible. Of putting out there your unique, authentic self through the work you do. It is true that the stiff competition might act as a deterrent, but your mode of personal branding should be aligned with your personality and belief – and that is how competition will not really matter in the long run.

Personal branding is nothing but using the forms of social media (which you already use) with the specific purpose of promoting your interests and outlook. If you are doing it for your homegrown business/ initiative you would have a very clear purpose. Similarly, in case you are doing it only for yourself and not a specific initiative, it would be more of your views and ideologies about things you believe in. For example, if your personal branding is for a small organic pickle business, your marketing strategies and ‘posts’ would have to include how and why you believe that these small businesses are important. You could speak about how this generates employment for women from several villages who would otherwise be unemployed. Or how it brings back the focus to local, hand-made produce. It could even be simply about the difference in the taste of something packaged with love rather than in a factory.

How would your personal branding strategy differ if you were doing it just for yourself? And not for any entrepreneurial purposes? Not very different. Except in this case, your personal branding is for “you”. Which means, in this case things like your ideologies, your views, what you associate yourself with, who you associate yourself with – all of this becomes central to your personal branding. In which case, LinkedIn is a great platform for you.

How are we able to distinguish between most famous personalities we may be aware of, without ever having met them? Because of their personal branding. Because we are constantly reading about them. Today though, one doesn’t need a PR person to fix this for them. All you need is a platform, and a voice – both of which you have free access to. Like all opportunities, this is one that gives you a lot of power, and along with it a lot of responsibility. How you choose to use it is up to your discretion.

The 5 Golden Rules for Personal Branding

1. Remember it is not about the product, it is about you

Or rather, not just  about the product. Above, we gave examples of two kinds of personal branding – one for specific initiatives and the second for yourself. However, even if it is the first kind of personal branding you are aiming for, remember what you are marketing should be seen as an extension of you. And that itself becomes the unique selling point (USP) for the service or product you are putting out. Your branding strategy should have a voice, which should be no one else’s but yours. It should speak about what you believe in, and what you don’t believe in. And how these ideologies connect with whatever you are trying to sell. Sounds like a challenge? Well, nothing comes easy!

2. Be responsible

Your constitution entitles you to a number of rights which includes freedom to speech. Being able to use your own, authentic voice which promotes the ideas and ideologies you harbor is a benefit of that right. Being responsible about what you speak and choose to put out is a ground rule for not just personal branding, but any form of social media interaction (and otherwise!). Remember that when you put out or say certain things on interactive platforms, people listen to it and engage with it in a conscious as well as subconscious manner. That is the power of personal branding and social media. In the recent times however, we know of way too many examples where these liberties have been abused. With power comes responsibility – it serves well to always remember this!

3. Social media is everything for you

Personal branding demands a judicious use of any and all resources that are available for free or minimum cost. The most powerful resource at your disposal is social media. Teach yourself as much as you can about all forms of social media, and mark the differences between each. How would your interaction/ voice vary on Facebook from LinkedIn? Understand the kind of audience that uses specific platforms, and mould your strategies accordingly. You can’t ever learn enough about the ever evolving forms of social media. Being in ‘sync’ and ‘updated’ (pun intended!) about how each form of social media works is a huge advantage for personal branding. Find out how stories make a difference to your brand on Instagram, how you can use Facebook live, and what’s new on Twitter. Learning and evolving with the market is a strategy that will always come in handy.

4. Network

Always a big bonus. Reach out and network with others who are doing personal branding. Take note of what works and doesn’t work with these brands. Learn from their mistakes and their success stories. Even short collaborations where there is a match of sensibilities is a fantastic way to go about personal branding. Networking allows you to step beyond narrow frameworks and visions and brings you a far greater reach and exposure. Being active on platforms such as LinkedIn, and creating valuable content is a great way to go about networking. Organizing, or being a part of meetups which discuss the concept and forms of personal branding is also a dependable way for meeting like minded people and making connections.

5. Invest

Wherever there is a need for growth, there needs to be investment. In the case of personal branding, even though you may have a very limited budget, make space for investments. Take up courses on specific marketing strategies that might add to your knowledge pool. Maybe one on understanding the forms and functions of social media better? Here is a great course on Coursera to help you get started with – “Introduction to Personal Branding”. If you have a small team, consider investing in sessions for them on how they can adopt and adapt to the vision for your brand better. Most importantly, invest “time”, into understanding how you envision your brand to grow, and what you see it standing for. Focusing on change helps you keep away the fear of being stagnant. And being stagnant in any business or career – big, or small,  is toxic.

Creating and nurturing a personal brand for yourself can be truly empowering. Besides all the factors we have mentioned above, consistency is also a keyword for personal brand. Your efforts and your vision need to be consistent, which in turn reflects in your strategies. One way of making sure of this is always reminding yourself to keep in mind who your audience is.

All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. 

Tom Peters, Fast Company

Have a personal brand and want to share the ups and downs of working on it? We are all ears!

Five Actions that can Turnaround the Corporate Culture – Business Operations Performance Management

Five Actions that can Turnaround the Corporate Culture – Business Operations Performance Management


This company is going nowhere; it is time to jump this ship; I am only here for the pay check; the more things change here, the more they remain the same; I don’t think management really cares about what I think – these are statements that are symptoms of a company that is dying a slow death due to a poisoned culture. This death may not be immediately visible in the top-line and bottom-line results but will definitely makes its impact felt sooner rather than later. In the Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends survey, employee engagement and culture issues exploded onto the scene, rising to become the no. 1 challenge companies face around the world. Organizations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organizational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent.  Exceptional organizations create and sustain a culture that engages and motivates their employees – 83% of executives and 84% of employees rank having engaged and motivated employees as the top factor that substantially contributes to a company’s success. There is a correlation between employees who say they are “happy at work” and feel “valued by [their] company” and those who say their organization has a clearly articulated and lived culture. To be an exceptional organization, companies must focus on the intangible elements of culture-building. So how does one achieve a culture turnaround?

There is still a divide between what executives and employees think influence workplace culture the most (reinforced by multiple survey findings)  – when considering what factors impact workplace culture, executives rank tangible elements such as financial performance and competitive compensation among the highest, whereas those factors were among the lowest for employees. In contrast, employees rank intangible elements such as regular and candid communications, employee recognition, and access to management/leadership highest. And here-in lies the areas where management will and intent can translate into tangible actions that can turnaround the corporate culture, no matter how far eroded, to a point that everyone can proudly say – This (the culture that you want) is in “OUR” DNA.

I have gone through quite a lot of organizational changes myself some of which impacted the culture positively and some that had disastrous consequences. Here are the top five actions that did/do work in triggering afresh energy, enthusiasm and effectiveness in the workplace to turnaround the corporate culture:

Action #1: Figure out what aspect of culture needs to change – And to do this, you have to start with an assessment of your company vision statement. Is your vision statement still relevant to inspire the cultural changes you want? Do people still believe that it is an attainable vision for the company? People need to have hope for the future – is your vision (and core values and desired behavior’s) a common rallying point that are meaningful enough to give people hope and a passion for their work? Don’t make the mistake of acting on perceptions instead of reality. Management and employees need to have a common starting point for a successful outcome to this journey. Do an ANONYMOUS, simple employee engagement survey (you can refer to the kind of questions asked in the Deloitte survey link above) and respect the results.  This will help you influence the organization’s response to your vision statement and values and yield the areas where change is needed to transform into a winning culture.

Action #2: Identify the Influencers in the organization and bring them “in” – Who do people look up to in the organization, whose views do they listen to, who do they respect ? If you can convince these informal influencers on the need for a cultural change and the sincerity behind your intent to change the culture, your battle is half-way won. There will be a cascading effect as Seth Godin says: If you take a group of people, a subgroup of the larger population, and expose them to focused messages again and again, you will start to change their point of view. If you augment those messages with exposure to other members of the group, the messages will begin to have ever more impact. If the group becomes aligned, and it starts acting like a tribe, those messages will become self-reinforcing. And finally, if you anoint and reward leaders of this tribe, single them out for positive attention because of the way your message resonated with them, it will become fully baked in.

Action #3: Start Walking the Talk in Small Steps – Culture is a combination of many small things. It is the way the organization works internally and responds externally. So what better way to reinforce the culture than demonstrating the cultural change that is needed by how you work and respond in everyday interactions? One step at a time. Don’t try to change the entire company at once. Start with one process or workflow and begin the change there through your actions (and resulting success) and then say “This is how we respond together” to drive the change. This is where the business operations team can play a key role to drive the cultural changes in a rapid way by defining and getting the team aligned and in agreement regarding goals, processes and metrics in a way that works for the company and what it stands for.

Action #4: Be Courageous in Weeding out Behaviors that do not align with the Company Culture – Set a time period for the culture changes to take effect. And during this period and especially after this period, be quick, decisive and consistent in addressing the negative influences. As they say, one bad apple spoils the basket – not only do you need to ensure that you hire, promote and reward people not just for skills or performance but for attitude and behavior that aligns with the culture that you want to foster but also help people who are not aligned to be aligned or move them quickly out of the organization. When valued behavior’s are not demonstrated, no matter where he/she is in the hierarchy, there should be consequences that demonstrate that such behavior is no longer acceptable in the organization. This is important to establish accountability.

Action #5: Communicate and Celebrate the Winning Culture – People need to know they are part of something special and unique. And this is where sustained messaging comes in – there are so many inexpensive ways to do this apart from the standard blog, intranet and collaboration tools. Culture is also built in-person with live conversations and interactions.  Creating and retelling of the stories about the company (how it began, turning points, big wins) are important and so are establishing traditions that allow staff to let off some steam, relax and just have some fun (Maniac Mondays, Fun Fridays, Annual Days, Spot Awards – get creative !). Creating an atmosphere that not only fosters but actively promotes open, honest dialogue, transparent communication and great team-building opportunities goes a long way in achieving the culture turnaround that is needed.

You will know your efforts have yielded results when every employee in the organization can state the company’s mission and core values in their own words, when your customer net promoter’s values (NPV) rises, employees praise and encourage each other, internal escalation and long email cc lists are a rarity, and leaders are “connected” to the rest of the organization. Or just walk down the corridors and count the number of smiles that you can see 🙂

“I believe that in a leadership company most people will like their work. But the company will be an even more enjoyable place to work if the culture is designed to make it that way. Leading fosters a working atmosphere that stimulates an open exchange of ideas and fosters dissent. People should show a genuine concern for one another and treat one another with fairness, as peers and friends. With such an atmosphere it should be a pleasure to come to work.” – Marvin Bower, considered as the Father of modern management consulting.

Have you been part of a cultural transformation effort ? What worked and what didn’t to turnaround the corporate culture? I would love to hear and learn from you.

Pic Courtesy : http://www.flickr.com/photos/madfamily/2817211497/