370 | Change Your Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is the foundation for your growth, innovation, and your impact. You must be able to monitor your corporate culture and change it when necessary. The culture of your organization defines how you approach new ideas and how your people interact with each other.

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Change Your Corporate Culture: The Transcript

Do you wanna change your culture? Do you wanna make a shift that really makes an impact to the business where you really are focusing on the people and not just the numbers? I’ve talked about a performance culture before.

You might wanna go back to previous episodes here of the hyper-growth tips and really understand what the difference between a performance culture is and a growth culture. But very simply, it is where a growth culture is you’re putting more focus on the growth of the people and the people are growing the numbers. If you have a performance culture, you’re focused on the numbers and expecting the people to tow the line and people end up feeling a little bit more like cogs in a wheel. You wanna grow people first.

This comes from my research of Inc. 5000 leaders. Over the last few weeks, I’ve talked to 17 of these CEOs and I asked them the question, customer first or employee first? 94.1%, so that’s 16 out of 17 people, said it’s employee first absolutely. Very clear, but there was one person that was not quite sure and they chose customer first. I say this with a smile. They were wrong, but they do see the value of putting focus on the employee. If you wanna lead a culture shift, you wanna pay attention to the four stages of a culture shift that I’m gonna share with you when I come back.

Hi, my name’s Gene Hammett. I work with hyper-growth leaders to help them understand hyper-growth and how to create leadership in culture that’s a competitive advantage for their marketplace. I talk to these CEOs all the time about how they are moving forward and what are the most important elements to this, so that I can share back with you what some of those insights are and I also wanna simplify that, because we could always over-complicate things. I’m doing the best I can to find the rhythm inside this and the pattern of these results and report back to you what I’m finding. It also comes from the work I do firsthand with our clients when I’m working with them in the trenches, so to speak. What are the four stages of a cultural shift?

Before we go into those four stages, I wanna make sure it’s very clear. You could have a company culture shift or you could have a team culture shift. What the difference is is the team would have a subculture inside the culture. It would be, there’s a lot of similarities, a lot of overlap, but there’s some different elements inside that subculture. Either way, this will actually work because it’s just such a simple framework and I want you to really think about how this will shift your business forward. I’m going to throw up on here some images that will help you, but if you want your culture to be a competitive advantage, you’ve got to really engage the team. You have to go through all four of these phases. The first one is select the champion. That’s probably you, you are the champion in this place, or you have to select a champion to really be in charge of culture and as companies grow, they have other people inside of this.

Directors of people or directors of culture, all of those things can work, all those people, but if you are still the one carrying the boat on this and you are the leader of this company, it’s probably you for right now as the champion. Then, the second stage behind that is to find the gaps. This is where you really must understood or understand where you are now and where you’re going. If you would write down, take a piece of paper, turn it sideways, landscape if you will, and make three columns.

In the first column, you’re going to really be focused on the, make sure I get my notes here, on the reality. Where are we now? What is going on right now in our culture? You may really not have good words for this, but I want you to really think about where are you right now on your communication, your transformation, your leadership? Where you are with company growth. Where you are with any of the aspects of, if you want some guidance here, you can go to genehammett.com/culture and you can download our growth culture scorecard, which will give you nine areas to really focus on, and you can pick from any of those and see where you are right now.

You gotta be honest with yourself, because you’re only cheating yourself if you try to make this look better than it is. You don’t wanna make it worse than it is, but you want to make sure that you really understand where you are right now and then you wanna understand the roadblocks to moving forward. What are the challenges you’re gonna face? Go ahead and identify them, be intentional about what you are going to see in that second column, the middle column. The clearer you are about some of those things, you will be able to reduce your risk, you’ll be able to manage and lead around those. Finally, you want the third column to be about desired outcomes, the desire of your culture.

What is it we’re trying to create? You may want to say, we want our employees to feel absolutely cared for. We want our employees to feel deep ownership in the work that they’re doing. We want them to be connected to the mission and all of those things are good, but you can’t steal someone else’s culture. This is your own. You can take this worksheet and really help yourself figure out exactly where you’re going. Again, three columns. The first column is the reality, where are you right now? The second column is the roadblocks, where are the landmines, if you will? The third column is the desired state, where are you moving to? What’s the vision there? That is the second phase of this.

The third phase is enroll the team. This is my favorite phase ’cause I actually work very intently with companies on enrolling the team and we do something called the ownership workshop, which is just one way to get them to enroll together. To get them to take real ownership of the culture shift and it works. I’ve done this quite a few times with companies and I just love doing it because it’s new, it’s fresh, it’s fun and the real basics of it are really just helping them identify where they, customer expectations inside the company. We wanna have an employee first, but customer-centric organization in a growth culture. I’ve said this before, but you want to make sure that everyone’s in alignment around what the customers are expecting of them and you can’t just hand them this report. It doesn’t work as well as if they create it themselves. I facilitate coming up with the top four expectations of the customers and then what we do next is really kind of amazing, is we align behaviors to those values or those expectations. The behaviors in that alignment is really the key, because you wanna go beyond just putting things on walls and having them as your core values. You wanna make sure you align the behaviors to that. We’re operationalizing these expectations or values.

The third phase beyond that is where you are, that is the third phase, sorry. The fourth phase is the rituals. The rituals that really allow you to really come alive with reinforcing the values that you’re creating in the culture. How are you rewarding people? How are you recognizing people? What are the ways that you’re communicating all of the things that are going on in the company? What are the transformational elements that you’re putting into the training, so they’re going from the inside out? What are the things that you’re doing intentionally over and over and over again so the people feel it and see it day in and day out? That’s how you get to a culture that’s a competitive advantage.

My name is Gene Hammett. A little bit longer today, but I share this with you ’cause it’s such an important issue if you wanna shift your culture. The four stages, just to summarize them, is select your champion, find the gaps, the third one is enroll the team, and the fourth one is to find your rituals. Make sure you keep this. If you are not ready for it, make sure you come back to it. If you are ready for it and you have any questions, make sure you reach out to me. My name’s Gene Hammett, I’d love to help you. As always, lead with courage. I’ll see you next time.



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