As a consultant, I’ve worked with many companies to help them design an effective organization, solve management issues, identify impediments to performance and define the culture/values to achieve desired goals and objectives. One such company stands out among the rest. They were able to solidify all the pieces into a strong, coherent and resilient place to work.
The initial consulting assignment was to assist with the merger of three distinct companies, integrating them into a unified and highly effective corporation. The goal was to create an entity that could produce outstanding results that neither of the three businesses could achieve by themselves. After the merger, their quest for excellence started by articulating the core values about people, how they wanted to manage their new combined business, and how to achieve optimal results over time. In other words, to create a new and powerful culture to manage the organization and meet their accelerated growth goals.
The top 8 people began by describing what they saw as their optimal core culture (It was their initial definition before clarifying, expanding and making operational):
- We will have a company where anyone can influence decisions, regardless of position, level or length of service: To contribute to results by competence, not by their title.
- We will become the employer of choice. When people in our industry search for employment, they come to us first, due to our reputation and how we engage talent.
- All of management will share in the responsibility of an individual’s performance. If results are falling short, management either didn’t hire correctly, didn’t train properly, didn’t supervise effectively, or didn’t support appropriately. We own our results.
- We will help each other succeed, as individuals, as a work team, and as a company
When talking about an operational philosophy, senior management began by articulating their beliefs about people and the environment they wanted to create.
We believe in the value of our people and will provide an environment that:
- Will develop the talent of our employees so they can perform at their highest level
- Constantly recognize and reward outstanding performance
- Limits opportunity only by the growth of our company, availability of positions and the ability or talent of the individuals that we have hired, trained and developed for greater responsibility
- Will be free of harassment, intimidation or any action that hinders or impairs an individual’s ability to perform or opportunity to advance
- Will foster a “team” approach while optimizing the individual’s contribution
- Will recognize unique contributions, innovations, ideas for cost reductions, increased quality or service levels that sets a new standard of productivity.
Top management sets the tone, culture and “rules” by which an organization is managed. It’s their responsibility to articulate to the employees what they are, and “walk the talk”. Check out your company’s latest annual report to see what they say about how they’re doing. Compare that to your experience. Is it consistent?
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