Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Building high-performing cultures.

Every company has a culture. The key to building high-performing cultures is to get all employees aligned and focused, with clarity and agreement about the "what" and the "how" needed to get the company where it needs to go, in spec and on time. The following are some of the bases that need to be covered to make sure this happens.

Clearly define what winning looks like:
- Management must model the behaviors they want to see practiced.
- Involve employees in defining the operating principles that will lead to success.
- Define what winning looks like from a variety of perspectives (sales, finance, operations, R&D, etc).

Measure what matters and what employees can relate to regularly, on a monthly basis:
- Involve them in setting up and tracking these measures.
- For example, how well customer leads, orders, returns and inquiries are handled.
- The appropriatness of collaboration or individual effort in getting work done.
- Success in meeting employee and customer retention targets.

Develop an ownership mentality and encourage intelligent risk-taking:
- Make sure everyone knows where the company aims to go.
- Educate employees about acceptable behaviors and boundaries.
- Give them freedom to make decisions and to take action on their own initiative.
- Use mistakes as learning opportunities.

Involve employees in watching the external environment:
- Build deep relationships with suppliers and customers.
- Learn their perceptions of what's going on in the marketplace.
- Keep tabs on competitors and developments in your industry.
- Look at what actions other industries are taking.

Be sure all employees are properly set up for success:
- Ensure they have the tools and information they need.
- Provide them with timely training, coaching and feedback.
- Share ideas together and encourage open candid discussions.
- Practice accountability and positive feedback in order to build trust.

The majority of employees want to be part of a compelling future, want to know what's most important at work and what excellence looks like. Creating a high-performing culture fosters loyalty from customers, partners and employees, and creates advocates who promote the company positively to others.

No comments: