Tony Robbins launched The Tony Robbins Podcast on March 30. Not surprisingly, it immediately rocketed to the top of iTunes. After all, anyone who can convince 6,000 people to walk across hot coals together--including Oprah Winfrey--can achieve just about anything.

My episode, "Transforming Your Company's Culture," was released on April 10. In 45 minutes, we covered about a dozen corporate culture topics, including several strategies companies of all sizes can employ to build great organizational cultures. Here are some of the highlights:

Culture is your greatest competitive weapon.

Every company has a culture, whether it is intentional or by default. The smartest companies intentionally design their culture, starting with the most important foundational elements of core values. If leadership doesn't define the culture, it will define itself.

Core values (should) drive everything. 

Every decision that a company makes should correlate to its core values. Who are you hiring? Who are you firing? Who are your partners? How do you treat your employees? Do you encourage risk-taking? Is your company an emotionally safe environment? Is it team-oriented or is it more individualistic? All answers should stem from the core values, which are set by the company leadership.

If you want the right people, hire right.

Include your core values and cultural alignment in your job description. Gary Vaynerchuk hires only for cultural fit. When interviewing candidates,  ask them why they chose your company. Ask them how your company's core values show up in their life. Core values are part of our DNA. We may not think about them, but our personal principles drive our behaviors.

Typically, core values are introduced to new employees during the onboarding process. We expect our new employees to unconditionally adopt our core values as their own.

Screening for a values fit prior to hiring protects against an employee's misalignment with a company's guiding principles. An extreme example of a misalignment of core values is Edward Snowden.

Booz Allen hired Snowden to work at the National Security Agency (NSA) for his technical capability. His view of the world and of his job starkly contrasted with how his company and client saw his position. Their core value systems regarding national security and privacy were misaligned.

Leaders show up authentically outside the office. 

The way people live their life outside of their organizations will determine how they treat people inside their organizations. The single most important factor that drives authenticity and behavioral alignment is self-awareness.

People cannot live by two sets of core values. If they espouse a commitment to work-life integration, are they involved with their families on the weekend, or are they working all the time? If they are committed to a learning-centric work environment, do they engage in self-development and continued education?  

Broken cultures require leaders to pause and reset.

A mentor once told me, "What we nourish grows, and what we ignore dies." Many companies put their cultures on autopilot. They don't nourish the culture. Leadership teams become focused on achieving goals and executing tasks, rather than doing temperature readings on the organizational climate. They stop and take notice when something breaks: revenues dip, customers leave, accountability disappears, employees quit, mistrust starts to invade the company. 

When this happens, leaders need to pause. They need to rebuild with the best principles, not just the best practices.

They must reconnect with their employees, and check into how their employees perceive the organizational culture. In my experience, there is almost always a disconnect between how leadership perceives the culture and how employees perceive it. Employee opinions matter most.

How do you repair the disconnect? It begins with rebuilding trust through safe, two-way communication channels. Leaders must be willing to accept uncensored, candid feedback from employees regarding what they see, hear, and feel about the organization. Until they are fully open to receiving this information, nothing will change.

Broken cultures are everywhere. This is why only 20 percent of managers surveyed are passionate about their work. Unengaged management teams yield bad management, bad bottom line results, and low productivity.

"B players" are your greatest organizational threat.

Want to identify your organization's weakest links? It's not your C players or D players, because you know you have to move them out, and ultimately you will. When the pain of having them around becomes greater than the pain of releasing them, you're going to let them go.

Your weakest link is your "B player." This is one of the most important lessons in entrepreneurship, according to Capital One Bank CEO Rich Fairbank.

B players don't cause pain. They are doing exactly what you've hired them to do. They aren't causing problems or disruptions, and you even like them personally, so you have no compelling reason to move them out. However, they aren't doing anything extra. And they are taking up a space where an A player can go...someone who will go above and beyond their job description.

When did you last scan your organization for B players?

These are just a few of the organizational culture lessons I shared with Tony's audience. We also discussed:

  • What Milliennials and Gen-Z workers will seek in the future, and how organizations can attract the top talent of these labor pools.
  • The integrated role of philanthropy and social good into organizational culture.
  • How to build organizational cultures around contingent workers, just-in-time workers, and part-time workers.

Your culture is a living, ever-evolving entity. It is the DNA of your organization. How are you keeping your finger on the pulse of your culture for your company today and tomorrow?

Published on: Apr 26, 2016