Q: What matters most in building a strong culture?
Q: What is engagement?
A: At Aspire, we define it as the ability to build a fanatical commitment to your brand’s promise and company values. Your brand promise is the experience every customer gets from your product or service. Your values are how you get things done.
When you have high engagement, people want to come to work. They understand how their contributions support the company’s success. They enjoy their jobs. Engagement is the emotional energy your people desire to give. The more they positively engage, the stronger your velocity. And, of course, the opposite is also true.
Your culture in action:
Here are a few elements you have to consider if you want your people to be fanatical about your brand and committed to how your customers experience it:
- If you can’t make a business case to define, strengthen, and constantly fund the training and tools to sustain engagement, you won’t have a strong culture. All levels of the organization must be committed to the power and ROI of an engaged culture.
- Who are your champions? You must have a voice, and it needs to be at a variety of organizational levels. The voice of your mission must be compelling to ownership, management, and associate levels. If you can’t get direct buy-in, then you haven’t made the business case to the audiences you need aligned. It is that simple!
- If your leaders are not aligned, forget about it. If your top is not engaged, it will reflect on how the rest of the team engages. Leadership is a behavior, and they have to behave and demonstrate what this culture looks like, sounds like, and feels like. You can’t say it and hope that people just buy in. People decide if it is real based on what they see and how it feels.
- Keep it simple. Your people have to be able to understand what matters most about the culture. I share with every new hire that I have three expectations:
- Bring joy into the building – regardless of where that building is. Negativity is not productive or accepted. If you are not happy here, no problem. You need to leave.
- Be prepared to work your ass off on behalf of each other and our clients. Great work requires great effort, talented people, alignment to our client’s needs, and the energy to care deeply – especially when things are hard. Lazy people don’t make it past 30 days.
- Help clean up the mess regardless of who made it. Blame and shame is not productive. When you mess up, own it and ask for help. If someone else needs help, give it. We all have responsibilities, and we are always stronger when we have the compassion to help each other succeed.
- Speak to your audience. Different people have different needs, wants, and expectations. For example, some people want to see their career path while others want to know how to make more money. The more you understand your people, the more compelling you can make your case on why they want to engage deeply.
- What is your sustainability strategy? Culture is not a credo card or a poster campaign (though these can be powerful sustainability tools). If you want to keep your culture alive, keep it in the discussion. Think of it as an endless internal drip campaign.
The Lesson: Culture is more like a plant. You have to take care of it, talk to it, water it, fertilize it, change the pot when it grows, and make sure it has sun or whatever it needs (encouragement!). When you are fanatical about your culture, you will ensure your people are fully engaged, or how we say it at aspire: ALL IN.
Live All in, Renie
P.S. Need some inspiration and tools on how you can lead the way forward for your team? Sign up for the free Leading the Way Forward Podcast below. Each week you will receive one free lesson 5-minutes in length that gives you proven practical ways to take your leadership effectiveness to its next level.
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Renie Cavallari, the CEO of Aspire, RCI Institute, and an organizational anthropologist, has been speaking worldwide to groups from 15 to 5000 for over 25 years. Her dynamic, storytelling approach skips the fluff, and Aspire’s 96% client retention demonstrates her impact. Her expertise is in transforming results through people. She goes way beyond inspiration as her humorous, engaging, and proven performance improvement strategies have been transforming teams for decades. Renie has worked with thousands of leaders, uses real data, real-world situations, and provides practical action-oriented applications to help leaders shine. Renie’s 6th book, HEADTRASH, the Leading Killer of Human Potential, is available on Amazon. For exclusive access to member-only resources, go to www.myheadtrash.com/vip. #DUMPHeadTrash
For over 25 years, Aspire, www.poweredbyaspire.com, is the execution and consulting arm of the RCI Institute, delivering customized training, leadership development services, and strategic cultural alignment to optimize individual and team performance. Known as a transformational-training company that delivers measurable performance improvement, Aspire develops people at all levels of an organization and has worked with thousands of companies worldwide. Aspire’s work is the incubator to the RCI Institute’s research, real-life practical applications, and modeling.
About RCI Institute
RCI, www.rciinstitute.com, is a real-life, practical applications research and learning lab focused on awakening human potential and igniting the human spirit to play all in. It creates research-based proprietary systems and tools around active thinking, People Technology™, and provides executive leadership coaching and certification that maximize leadership development potential.