Inspiring your team to adopt a new culture
How do you get your team to behave differently, to adopt the culture, the values and vision that you have? Regardless of how many programs you run, training you introduce or speeches you make, if the people within your organization don’t either understand or are not inspired enough to want to embrace change little will alter.
So what can a leader do about this? I would suggest one important step would be to look at the corporate culture of your company. How valued do your people feel? Do they really understand the vision and feel that they have a part to play? Do they believe that their efforts can and would make a difference or do they consider that all that anyone cares about is the bottom line, increased revenue numbers? Corporations that are successful like Southwest Airlines, Zappos and Google all have value based cultures, they care about core values such as integrity, ethics and most importantly their people, does your company?
What is a value based culture?
A corporation with a value based culture means that they, as an entity, give equal weight to ethics and business success in performance evaluations. They celebrate when members of the team show integrity and core values like honesty and trust. It doesn’t mean that sales success and increased revenue isn’t important, it means establishing a culture that cares. The corporate message to employees says we care about our people’s success, we will help with their development and equip them with the right skills to achieve the personal success they seek, we believe everyone matters and together we can achieve our goals.
How is a vale based culture created?
Changing a corporate culture so that all employees really understand and embrace it won’t happen over night and it must be led from the top.
A value based culture needs to be:
- Part of the entire corporate strategy - It has to a carefully thought out strategy led from the top down, embraced at every level and incorporated into all the processes of how business is achieved. It must run through every communication and corporate practice including performance appraisals, promotion and recruiting practices. It is not just a matter of introducing new compliance or ethics programs it has to be all encompassing evident in everything the company does.
- Demonstrated by example - The best way a leader can demonstrate a caring value based culture is in their behavior; they way they talk to people, how they treats others at every level, whether they are accessible, whether they are prepared to listen, are empathetic and understanding. Such leaders are humble and find meaningful and visible ways to show how living company values in day-to-day behavior can help deliver on the priorities.
- All encompassing within the corporation - To succeed the culture cannot function in isolation, it has to touch the hearts and minds of everyone within the organization. Leaders can achieve this by developing deeper partnerships with all departments; human resources, corporate communications, and environmental and social responsibility departments.
Recent research by the Catalyst Research Center for Advancing Leader Effectiveness, which collected 1,500 responses from workers around the world, as reported in the Harvard Business Review clearly showed that: 'Employees who perceived altruistic behavior from their managers also reported being more innovative, suggesting new product ideas and ways of doing work better…..Moreover, they were more likely to report engaging in team citizenship behavior, going beyond the call of duty, picking up the slack for an absent colleague--all indirect effects of feeling more included in their workgroups.'
A culture that emphasizes the promotion of core values, ethics and leadership produces happier workers, improved customer satisfaction and a sustained competitive advantage in the marketplace. Isn’t that a culture you would like to have?
“Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It is easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory…….It is another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down” Lee Iacocca.
As the savior of Chrysler, Lee Iacocca believes that leaders are made in a time of crisis. The crisis of a nation such as Sir Winston Churchill faced in 1939 and the crisis of a corporation such as Iacocca faced in 1978. Leadership is about who we are and how we behave, we can learn to develop our behavior and become more successful leaders. Here are the nine qualities Iacocca believes are needed for effective leadership.
A leader needs to be curious, to step out of his comfort zone and to listen others' different, possibly challenging ideas. Without challenging our thinking and belief’s how do we know we are right?
Leaders need to be willing to try something new, to think outside of the box. Part of a leader’s role is to manage change.Circumstances alter constantly, a leader needs to adapt and creatively deal with those changes.
Effective leaders confront realities, even when it is painful to do so. They communicate the truth, suggest strategies to move forward, inviting others to share their ideas and become involved as part of the solution.
Character means knowing the difference between right and wrong, it is about our moral and ethical strength. It is what is deep inside us, both when things go well and wrong. Ideally our reputation and our character should be mirror images. As Abraham Lincoln said: “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
A leader must have courage. The courage to sit down at the table and talk, to defend what is right even when it might be unpopular.
A leader should passionately believe in their goals and be determined to achieve them.
Charisma is the quality that inspires, that makes others trust you, follow you and believe that they have a valid role to play as part of the vision.
A leader needs to be competent and to surround themselves with people who know what they are doing as competent problem solvers.
9. Common Sense
Leaders need to be able to reason and use common sense!
When Iacocca joined Chrysler in 1978 it announced a $160 million quarterly loss, it was appallingly managed, lacking organizational discipline and structure. Harsh measures were needed, measures which Iacocca had the courage to implement. Visiting every Chrysler plant he learned how employees felt and he devised a rescue plan. Never asking others anything he wasn’t prepared to accept himself; hard work, commitment and for himself a salary of one dollar a year. Inspired by their leader’s honesty, common sense, conviction and passion employees accepted losses in wages and benefits to help effect a dramatic recovery. Iacocca bought a company teetering on bankruptcy back to life, retaining employment for thousands and making an enormous contribution to the American economy.
In today’s competitive, depressed economy, Iaccoa’s story is inspirational. Try applying his nine C’s of leadership, always do your best and do let us know what other ideas you might have to be an effective leader.
Integrity and trust are fundamental to effective leadership. A great leader is trusted and admired, a role
model whom others wish to follow and emulate, a person of integrity. Would you follow someone you neither trusted or respected? To trust you people need to believe that you are sincere and honest, that you have their best interests and the best interests of their company at heart. Being an excellent role model consolidates all the other aspects of leadership fortifying the process of creating vision, inspiration and momentum.
1. Your behavior, setting the example
Others form a picture of who you are by observing how you act. Your behavior tells others a story. The standard of behavior, the example you set and how you defend what you believe to be right all demonstrate your integrity. This is especially true during times of change when people will be looking to see if the leader lives up to the specific values and themes they are promoting. If you earn people’s respect and trust they will want to adopt your values, both personal and the company’s, which has a tremendous effect on the organizations culture and success.
2. Self respect
This is reflected by your appearance and actions, your punctuality.
3. Respect of others
How you treat others, with sincerity, empathy and consideration. To build credibility ensure that you are friendly and approachable. Make time for others, let the other person do a great deal of the talking, listen and be sympathetic to peoples’ opinions, ideas, concerns and worries. Make eye contact, know that little things count. Offer feedback and advice and take action to address their concerns.
4. Be honest and sincere
Honesty creates a culture of trust. Be uncompromising about the truth keep your word, be honest yet modest. Defend what is right. Show people that you only expect from them what you are prepared to do yourself. Let your team know what you think is important. If you don't tell people what your beliefs are, they'll guess and hold you accountable for what they guess. Being forthright has the additional benefit of making people feel like they understand you, and it develops trust faster than any other way.
5. Always defend what you believe is right
Make sure everyone knows what the organizations belief system is. Write it down, post it on the notice board. Ensure that all your actions demonstrate your adherence to this believe system and your values. Openly acknowledge and praise others who demonstrate this. Never be too important to apologize when things go wrong, When your strategy blows up in your face, take the responsibility.
6. Be magnanimous
Be magnanimous don’t bare grudges. Invite the opinions of others, ask them what values they think are important, what integrity means to them. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view Share with
them that you have accessed your own strength and weaknesses. Invite them to do the same, making yourself available to each individual to offer your help with this. Be prepared to apologize, if you are wrong admit it quickly and emphatically. Let other people feel that new ideas belong to them that their opinion matters.
Only hire integrity. ‘Walk the talk’, be firm be consistent, be honest, be respectful, be fair and kind, be the leader!
Do you agree that integrity is the cornerstone for effective leadership and that these are the traits that exemplify leadership integrity? What are your thoughts, we would love to know?
Being able to effectively communicate with others is an essential skill for anyone, regardless of their position or responsibility. All of us need to be able to convey our ideas clearly and convincingly with enthusiasm and confidence. With careful preparation, hard work, practice and a focus on clear language it is possible to develop and improve our communication skills and become more articulate. For a leader this is critical, to clearly and decisively explain vision and direction.
Sir Winston Churchill, a role model for communication?
Sir Winston Churchill, was a master communicator. We might not ever achieve the legendary status of Churchill but we should take encouragement from the fact that contrary to what many believe, Churchill was not a natural orator and was plagued by a speech impediment. Partly because of this but also driven by a desire to communicate effectively to get the results he seeked, Churchill dedicated himself to persistently rehearsing and editing each of his speeches for many hours. Hard work and practice were key components to his success together with thoughtful preparation and sincerity.
Churchill's 6 communication strategies
- Be clear about the audience you are addressing, who they are, what their needs, worries and concerns might be.
- Make sure that your communications have a well defined purpose, have a well defined objective.
- Be aware of all the facts before you speak. Do your research to make sure that you have available all relevant information
- Use simple, but precise language.
- Use humor to make you speeches easier to understand and to remember.
- Be sincere, speak from your heart. This was perhaps Churchill’s most significant tactic – his audience realized that he believed in what he was saying, they believed it too and very often acted on his words.
Additional Communication tips
1. Communicate in several methods
Communication is not all about public speaking and developing presentation skills to large audiences. Your team members want to hear new information from YOU. They want to hear your perspective on changes and new directives. Communicate key messages in more than one method. For your communication to be remembered repeat it. Be consistent without becoming predictable or boring. The first time you say something, it's heard, the second time, it's recognized, and the third time, it's learned.
2. Seek feedback and advice from others
Don’t be afraid to ask for help in creating and practicing important communication. Ask a co-worker, team member or peer manager to review the message or to listen to your practice sessions. Seek feedback from people after an important piece of communication - How could I have improved it? Which part did not seem to work well? What could I have done differently?
3. Involve your audience
Try to involve your audience, require them to think. A good communicator asks good questions that spark lively discussion, questions that promote a deeper understanding, if you want to get to the heart of something, ask “WHY?” five times. Don’t just stand up and tell people what to do, you want a team of forceful people who understand what you want but at the same time feel that they can make daily decisions themselves. Get people involved, ask for their input, their ideas. Show that you are listening and that you value their thoughts; give positive feedback and encouragement.
4. Have clear expectations and be sincere
What are your thoughts and what has worked well for you? We would love to hear from you!