Company culture plays a huge role in an organization's ability to meet the goals that it sets for itself--from year-over-year growth to a low employee turnover rate. For companies struggling to deliver on their Key Results, the most important thing you can do as a leader is to realign and refocus the company. But how? It all starts with culture.
Tap into the Transformative Power of Accountability and Communication
When there is misalignment around priorities and confusion over who is responsible for achieving specific benchmark tasks, the blame game emerges. This practice of finger-pointing and shirking responsibility is often accompanied by a familiar refrain: "Well, that wasn't my job."
The most important thing a leader can do to prevent this is clarifying the two or three topline priorities for their teams, what we call Key Results. This is the first step to creating a thriving workplace culture in which every employee takes positive accountability for both their day-to-day work and the larger success of the organization.
Accountability, according to The Oz Principle, is "a personal choice to rise above one's circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results."
In company cultures characterized by high levels of cross-functional accountability, everyone plays their part, taking ownership for Key Results and openly seeking feedback from higher-ups and peers. In a workplace with a positive culture, people commit to both personal and organizational growth, constantly asking themselves and others how they can do better.
Accountability Starts at the Top
An accountable and open company culture must be established from the inside out. First and foremost, leaders must model the behavior they hope to permeate through the organization, effectively "being the change they wish to see" in the workplace.
If managers play the blame game, point fingers, or just wait and see until higher ups tell them what to do, this behavior becomes normalized in the organization. Others mimic the negativity, even view it as a safe way to behave. But what happens when people are not taking accountability for the things that the can control? Not much. It's hard to see new solutions in this negative mind space. As a result, productivity and morale decline across an organization.
On the other hand, actively committing to the values of learning, open communication, and accountability in which your culture is rooted will inspire employees across the organization to follow suit.
Culture Isn't Static
The most important thing to remember as you work to bring your desired culture to life is that, while your values and Key Results should remain constant, the day-to-day work involved in achieving them will not necessarily follow a predictable path. You may find that your organization must change entrenched processes or alter its short-term goals in order to reach your desired results.
For instance, the relaxed culture that suited your company when you only had 10 employees may no longer suit your more professional clientele, who demand a disciplined approach to operations. Luckily, modifying your parameters for success forces you to be more innovative and creative, and take more calculated risks to achieve desired results.