One of the key drivers for performance across organizations is the prevailing environment or the culture
When everybody plays for themselves and for the team to win, the company enjoys an employeeship culture
Culture today is one the most colloquial terms in any con-text be it national, organizational, community or even home. The reason why culture has taken such a prominent position in our psyche and actions is the context of change that we are witnessing at macro and micro levels. The global economic scenario of recession and slowdown has nudged or pushed (depending on which industry we are talking about) organizations to re-examine, re-evaluate and therefore re-strategize what they want to achieve and more importantly how they want to achieve it. The ‘how’ of it is completely driven by the culture -- what type of culture would help us to get closer to our goals; and the change that we need to impact therefore, is the question that all organizations are trying to find answers to.
The culture we have been a part of significantly impacts our motivations and aspirations. And therefore, culture needs to be aligned to the changed aspirations that organizations may have now. Similarly, we continue to be impacted by the constructs of shared values, beliefs and aspirations around us. Enhanced productivity and performance is the pinnacle all organizations are moving towards. Undisputedly, one of the key drivers for performance across organizations is the prevailing environment or the culture.
While on the one hand, a lot has been written and understood on how culture impacts human beings’ more is now being observed and noted on how we impact culture on the other. At the organizational level, culture is hugely influenced by morale of the people and their conviction in the vision and strategy. The culture may also be characterized by a certain mindset and energy levels of its human resource. Therefore, an imperative for successful reconstruction of an organization or its culture would be the right attitude and high energy levels of the employees.
Traditionally, when organizations have wanted to introduce change, their normal recourse has been to change strategy, restructure the organization, introduce or revamp systems, change or induct personnels, et al. However, our experience of working with various companies globally has shown that these initiatives are unsustainable as people revert to the old methods if they do not buy into and commit to the change with their “hearts and minds.” Added to that is also the whole issue of signals, systems, structures and skills not being aligned to the change that the organization is trying to create.
What is the solution?
For a successful cultural transformation, it is imperative to focus on not only the tangible issues of technology, finance, margins, market shares, et al, but also on issues like company practiced values, the way and energy with which groups, teams and individuals work within the company voice of the customer, et al.
We typically follow the five box model of cultural transformation along Values, Signals, Skills, Structure and Systems. Through this process, we redesign the genetic architecture of the organization along the above dimensions.
As far as our experience goes, employee alignment and engagement are very powerful in generating and sustaining energies of organization towards its goals, its vision and to any change process. While any change initiative must be driven from the top, its cascade towards teams and employees is what distinguishes one successful organization from another less successful one. It is critical that all teams and employees are fully aligned to the goals, values, and strategy of the company and each employee has a clear line of sight to the end customer.
The objective must be to align individual performance of the employees to organizational goals to ensure that every individual’s effort matches organizational purpose. Only once this happens, does the organization create energy and help direct it towards implementation of solutions and create “shareholder value.”
The power of this shareholder value is enormous once unleashed. Generally it is believed that success or failure of a company is only the manager’s responsibility. However, the management is also a part of the whole and therefore has only part responsibility. Success of a company depends upon each employee and on how mobilized is the energy of all employees to secure the company’s future.
When people do their best to ensure the company’s success, a special kind of personal commitment exists. The Quality Guru and Founder TMI, Claus Moller, calls this commitment Employeeship™, that is, what it takes to be a good employee.
Simply put, when everybody plays for themselves and for the team to win, the company enjoys an employeeship culture. It is this personal and special commitment that ensures that the people move with the company towards its vision, contributing his or her best towards organizational excellence.
For instance, we recently worked with a large telecom organization on developing competencies that would align all employees to the company’s values, mobilize them to consistently live and demonstrate the values. The intervention was run across 400 employees in three locations, preceded by identification of competencies and followed by robust integration through robust and consistent internal communication, action learning projects, review templates and reward and recognition. The impact has been higher employee engagement and alignment towards company values, commitment towards personal contribution and above all towards “being an employeeship person,” which is now an organizational jargon.
Similarly our work with a leading BPO firm has demonstrated that when employees live the company values, their commitment ensures high Personal Quality™ - what we refer to as the human side of quality. It was the organization’s vision to have personal quality as the base for quality culture within the company. Alignment to core values and commitment towards personal quality facilitated a “movement towards quality” that translated into an upgrade on quality certification for the company, critical to its success.
Such examples demonstrate that while the culture can build performance, performance culture is built by people who bring their hearts to work, are inspired to achieve personal goals and are therefore constantly mobilising their energies towards the organization’s success.