Oftentimes, as businesses grow, there are going to be some growing pains. And even more often than not, one of the less obvious pains is the slowly disintegrating company culture. When left alone, executives and employees, alike, will start to witness a lot of infringements on company values, because a lot of people either don't understand them or flat out didn't know they existed.
To navigate in our rapidly changing world, corporations and organizations everywhere have had to reevaluate the ever expanding, changing and intertwining complexities of their cultures. "We realized that when an organization has a poor perspective on its culture, it has resulted in low energy and mediocre morale that stifles people, and consequently, causes them to not keep up with the demanding pace of today's workforce," says Jason Richmond, CEO of Culturized.
So when your business is all about culture, it has an important role in juggling the many different dynamics and issues that arise. It is time to rethink and reshape our organizational structures, culture - or in most cases - the way we lead people. It is time for leaders to consciously and deliberately shape organizational cultures.
There is a key takeaway here: leaders aren't only people who play a critical role in the development of culture. Thought leaders needs to give the same time, attention and resources to the development of their people and culture as they do to their products, finance, strategies and research. In the past, many of our leadership and human resource (HR) practices were used to serve a very specific purpose - and often times they are seen to hold a majority of the weight in culture development.
This idea is outdated and unusable in today's society.
Back when markets and trends were more predictable and not updated with a simple click, people received a tasked and followed tedious and predetermined steps to finish it. Whereas now, innovation and development continue to grow. "Who's the disruptor, who's putting out the content and building out the technology to get you in front of these people? You have to constantly be trying new things," says Gerard Adams, Co-Founder of Elite Daily. "I really do believe in experimenting and I'm constantly experimenting with new platforms to see what's effective in the marketplace." Here is another key takeaway: innovation is no longer boxed into the research and design department's job description.
Today we need innovators and problem solvers everywhere in an organization and we need shared accountability and ownership from everyone. This is the foundational perspective that will push culture to turn invigorating. It seems like an abstract idea. In some cases, it is. In others, not so much. The past was truly a simpler time (but not a very exciting one). So why are companies still holding onto these outdated organizational designs, human resource systems and (boring) leadership practices rather than finding the courage to change them?
The modern workforce requires leaders and employees alike to authentically transform their organizations into environments that are integrated and aligned with the organization's mission, vision, values, and goals. And it starts with getting everyone involved. It starts with a new mindset viewing people as extraordinary and that form follows function.
"Today's teams have to work outside of the box," says Lisa Barram, President at Retirement Prosperity Group. "With increased challenges in today's volatile stock market and low interest rate environment my team has to coordinate like never before and know what each other is doing and thinking. Each member must rise to executive level problem solving to find innovative solutions to best serve clients. To us, a true team is people who cooperate with one another to push forward the firm's mission - putting client needs first."
This type of unity results in high-energy, high-performance, highly innovative company cultures, with people who are excited to go to work. The greatest change for leaders was learning to engage and value the people. To many of us, this is obvious, like a "well, duh" moment from an Intro to Leadership 101 class. But when leaders empower their employees to think they are great (because they are) and challenge them to be leaders themselves, innovation will start popping up everywhere.
Here's the last key takeaway: when a you develop a culture worth standing behind, people will become more invested and committed to the mission, vision, values, and goals. "Your corporate culture becomes your ID both within your organization and among customers," says Robert May, founder at the May Firm. "As a leader, you will need to leverage this in order to inspire confidence among your customers and to drive your organization to excellence."
Leading the next wave of organizations starts with a shared vision and values by allowing people to contribute their thoughts and talents. This is no longer a room of cubicles and a supervisor managing them all. Instead, it's a round table filled with equal collaboration. And it is through these discussions that ideas start to flow from and through people with the potential to create greatness.