Are you modeling a company culture that inspires employees to carry the beliefs you want to set around safety, sales, or operations seriously?
A company’s culture is the manager’s job to manage, to communicate, and most importantly, to model.
Want poor safety – model what poor safety looks like with lack of management involvement(and deal with the potential life-damaging results).
Want poor sales discipline and poor sales results – all you need to do is model the behaviour and your troops will quickly do the same.
Culture Is Natural
Your organization’s culture is reinforced and transmitted daily in an efficient, almost naturally occurring, self-perpetuating process that requires minimal direction and limited nurturing.
You can witness this process at work when a new employee takes a lunch break the first day on the job.
As the lunchtime conversation unfolds with co-workers, the new employee will eventually ask, “How do things really work around here?”
In essence, the person wants to know the prevailing Cultural Beliefs that dictate how to get work done in the organization:
“What’s important to management?
What do I need to watch out for?
Who do I need to watch out for?
What do I need to make sure I do without fail?
How do people get promoted?
How do they get in trouble?”
In response, co-workers answer these questions by sharing their beliefs about the organization’s culture, beliefs that others in the organization most likely also share, beliefs that tend to constitute the prevailing and company-specific notions about the “rules of engagement.”
This raises some fundamental questions that you need to answer:
Are the beliefs that people are sharing the ones you want them to hold?
Do these beliefs inspire movement toward a new culture or do they cause people to retrench into a culture you don’t want?
Will these specific beliefs lead the organization forward in its effort to deliver results, or not?
If not, you have a significant cultural problem that needs solving. You can appreciate the seriousness of this problem when you consider how little it takes to assimilate new employees into the existing culture.
Culture Catches Quickly
Total enculturation often occurs quickly when the new employee goes to lunch the next day with another co-worker and hears the same beliefs repeated almost verbatim in answer to the question “How do things really work around here?”
What sales, operations and safety beliefs have you modeled and reinforced to your team when their unspoken question is “How do things really work around here”?
Do you set clear expectations?
Do you hold them accountable?
And most importantly, do you model the expected behavior?