Hey Bosses, try this – The Behaviour All Managers Should Model
What is it about some workplaces that cause some people to be excited about going to work every day while others cause employees to be constantly updating their resumes while seeking other opportunities? It comes down to a behaviour all managers should model.
As a veteran of several thousand exit interviews and as a consultant who interacts with people in companies each day, what is crystal clear to me is that the leaders of great organizations all understand one thing: the foundation upon which their success rests is the culture they devise and model for all to follow.
Leaders Are Role Models
Never forget all leaders are role models. Great leaders conduct themselves in exactly the manner they wish to see replicated throughout their organization – bringing out the best in themselves and others. And as you have likely guessed, poor leaders conduct themselves in exactly the manner they wish to see replicated throughout their organization – more often than not, bringing out the worst in themselves and others.
As you know, culture is the operating system which sets the tone for how everything else flows. Just how well or poorly is directable attributable to the culture.
Whenever there is incompatibility between the operating system and the desired results, many organizations invest their time and resources in attempting to refine their operating policies and procedures – the What tos and How tos – instead of addressing the cause of the problem, their organizational culture.
Culture simply means “this is how we do things around here”. Here’s the bite: until senior leaders accept the irrefutable rule that cultural norms play in the overall organizational performance, they will be doomed to spin their wheels through the constant tweaking of their methods, policies and procedures.
I have met numerous executives who have confessed that never once have they looked to their culture as a means of improving performance. In fact, many of these executives have expressed their absolute belief that culture has no impact on bottom-line results.
Several years ago I did work for an organization that brought in an international consulting company to review the methodologies and procedures and make recommendations on how best create efficiencies and optimize performance.
This consulting company was paid more than $2 million for this project and for several weeks their employees shadowed senior managers and their direct reports to observe how they went about their day-to-day functions.
Their conclusion was that there was indeed an enormous opportunity for improvement and they provided the client with a detailed report on how best to convert these opportunities into tangible results. Along with their report came a proposal recommending they play a large role in implementing the proposed changes.
And they would do this for only an additional $3.25 million.
Not for a moment am I suggesting that organization will not benefit from the intense scrutiny of procedure conducted by this company, nor do I believe that they would not have delivered enormous value by helping to implement the recommendations.
What concerned me most was that there was no mention of anything to do with the culture which drives that very organization.
It’s the Only Thing
If we analogize the introduction of new and improved procedures as being akin to downloading upgraded software, then we can all relate to the disappointment we feel when the new software does not perform as advertised because it is incompatible with the operating system.
Lou Gerstner, the former CEO of IBM, observed, “Culture is not a thing, it is the only thing.”
He’s the man credited with saving IBM from complete collapse during the 1990’s.
My wife believes that every opinion should be an informed one. I’d say Mr. Gerstner’s words are about as informed as you could ever get.
Till we read again.
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