culture

Tips – Culture and Success

I talk often with clients on the topic of their culture and how it is manifest in their daily activities, procedures, and practices. Culture is critical to business success.  Yet many organizations have not designed or managed theirs, so it exists more by default than intention. Even more have developed significant differences between what they say and what they do. Think how many say they want teamwork but all rewards and raises are done individually, for one common example.

This SlideShare presentation by Reed Hastings is an excellent example of how to think about an organization’s culture and what it really values. It is clear about many of their choices and decision points. Their culture is not something you want to copy, you may agree with it a little or a lot. Still, it should give you ideas to consider. But the presentation is a great way to get your brain thinking about culture and what that really means in daily actions.  http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664

Your organization’s culture needs to be based on your business reality and values. It needs to support your business goals and drive your policies and practices to be effective.

An effective culture also reduces your risks and enhances productivity as people understand what it takes to be successful and what is valued. Changing a bad culture is far more difficult work. Far better to think about your organization’s regularly and tune-up as needed.

One of the interesting assignments I have done recently was a part of a turn-around process that included culture reassessment. The client CEO and team worked through a values clarification exercise together and then turned that into behavior expectations. We developed practices based on that. Several years ago I did a similar […]

By |August 5th, 2014|culture|0 Comments

COMPENSATION & CULTURE

Now is the time many organizations start thinking about the next year’s pay raises. Before you start the hunt for ‘market rates’, projected pay raise averages, budget or other data – think a bit about what you are paying for.

Very few founders, CEOs, or senior executives have thought about their philosophy of compensation directly. Fewer still have tied it to their desired culture.

And so, over the decades, I have talked about these issues with many senior folks. Often I also use a short quiz and set up the scenario:
You have two people in the same role, both are equally productive.
And I ask a series of questions about how one would calculate the pay raise for each. One question is: John comes in early and stays late every day, he works many long hours each week. Tom works his regular schedule but rarely puts in extra time unless asked to help others.

And nearly 3/4 say that they would give John a larger raise.

Do you see the issue? Most do not until I ask why they are rewarding the person who cannot get their work done in a timely manner over the one who does. Remember – the conditions were that both were equally productive. So Tom is doing the same amount and quality of work in less time than John.
As you think about your salary planning for next year, here are some questions to ask yourself. Pick the top three in each and rank order those.

1. Do we want to compensate for:
– individual productivity
– teamwork
– cost of living changes
– our financial success
– increased productivity
– market pricing changes
– seniority
– client growth
– revenue growth (funding growth for non-profits)

2. Will an individual be rewarded with a base salary […]

SUMMER… THE LAST MINUTE GUIDE

Right about now each year I have clients who suddenly realize it is summertime. And they meant to consider summer hours or a summer family picnic or some other form of recognition for all the hard work of the last few quarters. But the firehouse of daily activities overcame the intent.

Is this YOU?  Yes, there are still things you can do to enhance morale and inject a little fun.

Tip 1. Bring some fun into the workplace

If all your employees are in one-two locations, this works well. Have an ‘ice cream sundae’ party or bring in catered lunches two-three times over the summer. Start with a short ‘thanks’ and push to get people talking to each other for 30-60 minutes. Make it a real break from work. And yes, that means the executives too – unless you are having them make the sundaes.

Tip 2. Cancel a workday

Independence Day is a Friday this summer. Shut down for Thursday July 3rd as well. Or just pick a random day, say August 1st. Announce it in advance a bit to give folks a sense of anticipation. Give a reason – or not! Yes, you will still pay everyone for the day so it has a cost. But it does not take a lot of effort to plan or run and most employees love this ‘playing hooky’ day.

Tip 3. Go All In

Set up a last minute picnic or area trip – say Great Falls National Park with bag lunches and a bus to/from the office for a mid-day break.

Each employee gets a chit for some ‘free’ time off – maybe 3 half-days or two full days, depending on your business.

Bring in a seated chair massage therapist 4-6 times in […]

Improve your Surroundings

There is interesting research about the impact of negativity in the workplace. Regularly negative people significantly reduce productivity and creativity of those who work with them.

Which leads to the question: Who is the most negative person you deal with regularly?

If you are like most small business or non-profit leaders, you do have someone in your organization or on your Board who is consistently negative. S/he might be someone with a classic negative reaction to all change or a personality that sees their world through dark lenses. We are not talking about those who sometimes offer negative opinions or are realistically reacting to tough situations. We are talking about consistently ‘negative nellies.’

Some negativity is useful. Such people can provide a realistic voice in many discussions. They serve as a check on those of us who have a ton of new ideas but no filters. They may be a part of your unspoken ‘risk management’ process even.

Still a consistently negative person, no matter how good they otherwise are at their role, takes a toll on those around them. And they infect others with negative responses. You must assess whether their value outweighs those aspects. And think quite clearly about how they influence or impact your own leadership.

Could you reduce or eliminate dealing with this person? Is it worth a frank discussion or is this behavior so consistent that perhaps replacing this person to save the rest of your organization is really needed?

Giving up ‘Always On’

Saw a short article recently stating about 17% of people who participate in giving something up for Lent were reducing their social media time and turning off their smartphones for periods each day. Whether you could actually manage to do this or not, it raises interesting questions.

How do you grow and run your business successfully when you do not make time for uninterrupted thought and planning? Many successful CEOs schedule regular time for such work and give it their undivided attention.

What legals risks do you take, without thinking, if you are given to emailing your employees outside normal work hours? Worse yet, what is this doing to your employees’ creativity and engagement?

Research shows that multi-tasking is a myth. Our brains love the feeling of being important which being always connected provides. But they do not function effectively when doing more than one thing at a time, even though most of us believe we are being more effective!

What message are you giving to others when you check messages during a meeting? A meal? An event? If you do not respect their time and are not committed enough to pay full attention, why are you there?

OK, I can and do shut always-on connections down regularly. Can you? Do you? Now, can I give up mindless TV late each night….