No, It’s Not Dinner and A Movie, but It’s Close.
You’re juggling a myriad of priorities and urgencies while doing your level best to give time to relationships that mean the most to you. Perhaps you’re struggling with creating a high performance culture or you seem to be losing traction in tuning up or turning around an under performing unit. What problems are you solving and why are you the only one to solve them? There’s always a lot to do and we could debate optimizing time and managing overwhelm ad nauseam, save for another day. Drucker may have said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and The Culture Whisperer says, “Culture – It’s what’s for dinner.”
“I got married to an ugly woman. Don’t ever do that. It just takes the energy right out of you. She left me, though. Found somebody even uglier than she was. That’s life.” – Brad Wessley, Road House (1989)
Let’s be clear on what drives success regarding culture and delivering high performing results while preserving critical relationships inside and outside your organization. A few years back, former Texas Tech football coach, Mike Leach attributed the business fable of the chicken and the pig during a game against Texas in Austin. Sadly, in today’s society many feel it’s okay for little Johnny to get a participation trophy. Why? Because, Dad abdicated his role and responsibilities as a father instead of saying, “look Junior, there’s winners and losers period. The sooner you learn that everything is not “kumbayah-hug-it-out,” the sooner you’ll understand how much time, effort, energy and sweat goes into being successful.” My question is, as a leader, are you truly leading or are you “that guy” or gal who abdicated their role as a leader?
If you put lipstick on a pig, she may look prettier but she’s still a pig.
With culture being the last bastion of competitive advantage, what are you doing to fan the flame or carry the torch short of setting yourself on fire? Without modeling appropriate behaviors that set the expectation for employees to follow, you might as well set yourself on fire as they’re not following your lead anyway. If you’re serious about creating an environment that is challenging, has character and will win against any odds, then establishing a foundation for performance while preserving the core is the only way you’ll deliver lasting results that can be replicated. You cannot coerce your company to success and you cannot be Dr. Feelgood and deliver bupkiss for results either.
“It’s a little like breakfast, you see, the chicken’s involved but the pig’s committed.” Mike Leach
You must be crystal clear on what drives your success in a culture-driven organization. Why is it so difficult to make the shift in mindset? It takes courage to go “All In.” There are leaders today who won’t put their cojones on the line for transformations that have a history of falling short of their expected outcomes. Those so-called transformations were merely shifts in corporate climate not culture – thus, the pig in a pretty shade of Maybelline. Do you have what it takes to be that Elegant Leader With Voltage who can lead, who can carry the torch of lasting change who will fan the flame for the organization? Here is our 3-step methodology on what it takes to lead a High Performing Culture in it’s simplest form.
- None shall pass. Establish no lines that can’t be crossed in order to give your customers what they want. Sacred cows were sacred 25 years ago, get over it. Without your customers you don’t have _____! Without your employees doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason, the customer won’t be served.
- Make it genuine. Genuine is designing, creating and changing “how we do things” to support the culture. You need a framework by which work is executed. You’re people need to know when they’ve “done-it-right” NOT what they did wrong if you want them to own and model the proper behaviors of the new culture that get results. If it doesn’t support the results, then it doesn’t get done anymore. It’s time to take “stuff” off of their plates, because it no longer has value to the organizational result.
- Make it permanent. When Cortez reached the New World, he set his ships on fire, thus his men were well motivated. This may be the most painful step in creating a high performance culture, because you’re committing where people are hired and fired based upon performance and results that support the culture. This step is where cojones and character are joined at the…well, you know.
The cowardly lion wasn’t comfortable either, so get over it.
As the leader, you will always ebb and flow through significant amounts of risk and uncertainty. I’ve often said the tipping point of learning is at the intersection of courage and comfort. You learn best when you don’t know all the answers – fear, uncertainty and doubt creep in. Choose one or the other – courage or comfort – but you can’t have it both ways, and you have to live with your decision! Sorry John, but today you’re NOT getting a trophy for showing up to work. You can’t stand up in front of your internal masses and say I’m terrified of what’s coming next? What you can do is surround yourself with a group of like-minded people and embrace the concept. If you’re uncomfortable then you’re doing what needs to get done. Being uncomfortable adds energy, and enthusiasm. Feelings of self-consciousness, nerves and occasionally inadequacy is real. All growth is dependent on pushing the boundaries, learning and changing behavior patterns – yours and the organization’s.
It’s apparent you’re not happy with performance, the mood or morale, the identity of your business, maybe the values and behaviors are more a miss than a hit. If you’re serious and have the courage to evolve, then you’ll see improved teamwork, higher productivity, better alignment throughout the organization, gain respect for your team, improve your leadership skills and those around you and ultimately your organization will truly live how it breathes in its mission and values, which translate into great results and great relationships. Clients turn to us when they struggle with moving things forward in their organization, setting strategic direction, engaging and mobilizing employees, and creating a high-performance culture. We break through the critical human and cultural integration challenges that obstruct your company’s ability to break through boundaries.
Your challenge is to leverage the best attributes of all legacy cultures and operations, while being fully inclusive of all talent. We have a proven methodology laying out an efficient, effective path to maximum impact and results while preserving critical relationships. Working together may make sense to you and for your company’s success – preserving the core and enhance your organizational capacity for collaboration, innovation, and productivity gains that drive business results with agility. Please share your thoughts on culture and strategy below. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ or for more information on our solutions, please review our website and contact me +1 205-482-2177 to move your Culture forward today – it’s what’s for dinner!