The Culture Piece

September 30th, 2014

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“Imagine a world where what you say synchs up, not sinks down.” 

– Stan Slap

Last weekend was ‘footy’ grand final weekend here in Melbourne and whilst this may carry more meaning for some, you would have to be living under a rock to not recognise that a major event was occurring in our midst and the influence it held on the city itself.

With corporate and social events locked away on calendars months in advance; players parades that bring much of the city to a halt; passionate football fans proudly running around in all of their teams colours; almost empty shopping centres and traffic free roads during game time; and a media dominance to rival any major world event you could be forgiven that the world did almost stop spinning on it’s axis for a few hours.

Whilst Melbourne is widely regarded for it’s proud sporting culture, I didn’t realise just how much of an impact this one single event had on the city until I moved here nearly nine years ago. Even if you aren’t a fan of the game, you are invariably gathered together with friends at a b-b-q or pub for the social atmosphere; or you are taking advantage of no crowds in your favourite city spots. It really is a cultural part of the fabric of this great city.

Watching and listening to the build up and banter unfold in work places, coffee shops and various social circles, it was hard to not be caught up in the anticipation and excitement of the day. As one very excited friend put it (his team was in the grand final and ultimately triumphed on the day) you can’t live in Melbourne and not be a part of something that is ‘just what we do and who we are’!

Whilst he was referring to the lifestyle of the city of we live in, it got me thinking about the ‘lifestyle’ of our workplace… or more specifically the culture of the places that we work. What is it about some business cultures that seem to harness and capture the skills, talents and energies of their people and then infectiously impact their customers and clients?

Culture, which is generally referred to as ‘the way we do things around here’, is often attributed to being a key determinant of success. But in many ways I agree with Scott Adams, American creator of the Dilbert comic strip who sees strong corporate cultures as a by-product of success:

Company culture is another area that I think the experts get backwards. The common belief is that you need a good company culture to create success. But isn’t it more likely that companies with awesome employees get both a good culture and success at the same time? A good corporate culture is a byproduct of doing everything right; it’s not the cause of success as much as the outcome. Success improves culture more than a good culture can cause success.

So what are the components of doing ‘everything right’ and how do they translate into our businesses?

I believe that there are 8 key elements that organisations with strong cultures seek to embed within their day to day operations:

  • Clear Mission, Goals, Roles & Responsibilities

Where are we going, how do we get there and what is my contribution to the journey?

Strong cultures are able to impart a clear understanding not only of their purpose but they are able to help employees understand the link between their role and the accomplishment of these goals.

  • Empowering Leadership

Strong leadership is more than just delegating and managing employees. To develop truly effective workplaces, employees must feel empowered to take advantage of a variety of resources, collaborate with peers, investigate opportunities and own their own performance. 

  • Embrace Learning & Continuous Improvement

The desire to continuously deliver efficient, innovative and relevant products and services is a challenge for all businesses in today’s ever-changing environment. To deliver on this commitment, organisations need to encourage curiosity, learning and up-skilling and commit to a mindset of continuous improvement throughout all business channels.

  • Transparent Communication

Transparency matters because it helps people engage in what it is that they do and with the workplace. Meaningful and relevant dialogue between colleagues, managers and leaders is critical to ensuring progress is being made and contributions are valued. 

  • Unity

As the saying goes – ‘We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided’. Organisations and teams that are united in focus and action, maximise efficiencies and outcomes through collaborative actions.

  • Productive

Healthy workplace cultures create far more than just a ‘feel-good’ factor. Employees are happier, more engaged, motivated and ultimately work harder and are far more productive.

  • Trust

This can be a harder practice for some more than others, however it is a critical part of building successful teams and businesses. Individuals who are trusted and empowered to deliver on their responsibilities are invariably more productive, efficient and innovative with their solutions and outcomes.

  • Celebrate & Acknowledge Success

Success builds success. Stopping to celebrate and acknowledge great work, outcomes and key contributors is essential in building employee loyalty and long term engagement. Encouraging the expression of gratitude and appreciation from all levels within an organisation is a powerful propellant for future success.

We all influence the culture of our workplace, regardless of the position we hold within them. We all ‘run onto the field’ when we turn up to work each day and when we all play our position we can create successful and amazing places to work.

I would love to hear more about your thoughts on the critical elements of workplace culture.

Margot – The Career Diplomat[vcex_divider style=”solid” icon_color=”#000000″ icon_size=”14px” margin_top=”20px” margin_bottom=”20px”][vc_single_image image=”126″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” alignment=”none”]If you would like to know more about how to engage your teams and grow your workplace culture, please contact Margot directly on margot@talentinsight.com.au or +61 3 9866 3842.[vcex_divider style=”solid” icon_color=”#000000″ icon_size=”14px” margin_top=”20px” margin_bottom=”20px”][vc_single_image image=”88″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” alignment=”none” link=”http://talentinsight.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=961a17dac8287c94458c7983d&id=f81e0aac65″]

2 Responses

  1. Lindsay says:

    I have found that appropriate and relevent communication will invariably produce the desired result regarding workplace culture, particularly during times of mergers / acquisitions when some staff may feel vulnerable and unsure of their value within the new entity.

    • thecareerdiplomat says:

      I agree Lindsay. Communication is always key and definitely needs to be given extra consideration during times of change when staff feel that their roles are at risk or they are unsure of how their contribution is regarded.

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