This is part 1 of a 6 part blog series on developing a culture that breeds success. Make sure you add the RSS feed to your reader so you don’t miss anything in this series!
One of the first things we do when we think about success and culture is we scramble around to get together a vision of how we believe things will look and function at some point in the future. Accomplishing that vision is how we will know we have achieved success. So we think and craft and wordsmith things into something that is challenging, exciting, motivating, and something respectable to be a part of making it happen. This is what gets that ever elusive “buy-in”, right?
There’s nothing wrong with including all that in your vision. It’s a great exercise in thinking of how others will respond to the direction you want things to go. For many of us leaders. We don’t go too far beyond that. We may have a campaign to launch the vision and make sure there are plenty of posters up. Depending on the size of our organization, we may make the vision an enterprise wide default screen saver. Still not enough…sorry.
Having a vision is important, but it must be complemented by preparation and planning. How is this vision going to be accomplished? Blasting a vision out there and assuming everyone will be as excited about it as you are, especially if they’re not given much direction on how to do it, is naive at best. With a vision must come a plan.
The preparation and planning isn’t to be done behind closed doors either. Share the vision with people in the organization. Listen to what they have to say. They will tell you their concerns about how it can be implemented, if you give them the opportunity. Maybe one aspect of the vision could mean more work in a certain area and they feel they will be overworked or overwhelmed. If they know you are listening and concerned, they will be more excited about helping make it happen. Especially if you are doing what you can to address their concerns and fears.
Do this before you begin moving the vision forward. You can get key people in place to hear the rumblings of people switching off due to their voice not being heard. Once this approach is viewed as “how things are done”, it becomes an accepted culture and people are much happier to work towards that vision. They know that if a problem arises, they can talk about it without fear of being labeled divisive, disrespectful, or not a “team player”.
Once you have sorted through all the suggestions, concerns and input of others you can confidently share not only the vision, but a way to move it forward. Highlight some people who made suggestions that will make things operate more smoothly. Recognize and thank those who contributed and point out people who gave exceptional input that could make a significant difference. So what if you have to change things mid-stream. People will respect the fact that you’re trying to make it work while still being concerned about how things impact their day-to-day bits. That doesn’t always cost money. Usually just some extra attention.
Take the time to develop a culture that ensures you are able to consistently experience success. This puts your organization in a place where change management becomes much easier because there is open communication and people have a voice. The folks in your organization just want to be heard, feel valued, and be treated with dignity and respect. Preparing and planning well, while including them in the process, helps develop this kind of culture and will set you and your organization on the way to achieving success.