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Archive for the ‘Commitment Culture Series’ Category

Commitment Culture Series Overview

Organizations are living and breathing things, not just an org chart hanging on a wall or an office full of desks.  People drive the basic performance of an organization and help it or hinder it from operating at its highest potential.  Do you have a business that is awash with energy and enthusiasm and exceeding objectives time after time?  Or is your business being run by people that put in their hours and call it a day?

The difference between these two businesses has to do with many factors and at Sharper Counsel, we use a model we call “Commitment Culture” to describe various elements in an organization that have to do with people connecting to their jobs in exceptional ways to accomplish exceptional things.  Through studying a business and how it employs elements of a Commitment Culture, barriers to high performance can be removed and the full power of the people in the business can be unleashed.

Sharper Counsel’s Commitment Culture model consists of four items:

MISSION –           the same starting point as a Strategic Framework,
VISION –              a discussion of the business beyond current realities,
VALUES –            the look and feel of a business from a human perspective, and
CULTURE –          the manifestation of MISSION, VISION and VALUES from day to day.

The MISSION is a key enabler to achieve high performance in that the people in the business need to understand and believe in the basic purpose of the organization.  If you are running a lumber mill and your employees don’t believe in cutting down trees, you will struggle to achieve high performance.  Most often, people self-select and choose to work in businesses where they appreciate the MISSION.  But sometimes not, especially when jobs are hard to come by, and it’s worthwhile to ensure that your team knows the business MISSION and supports it.

The VISION of an organization is also a key enabler to high performance and talks more to what could be than what is.  You may be running a lumber mill and if you aspire to become a leader in your industry through reducing carbon footprint, that speaks to goals that are larger than the current week or current quarter.  Maybe you have ideas about being the most competitive lumber mill in a certain market segment so that good jobs can be retained in your community.  That’s important information for people to have and helps them connect to the business and become more engaged in day to day activities.

The VALUES of an organization describe in large degree how a business conducts itself.  How does the business behave in particular circumstances and what does it feel like to an employee inside the business?  Describing the VALUES of the organization and ensuring that the team behaves according to them helps people understand what to do when situations arise.  A solid set of VALUES help people align with the goals of the business as well as do their jobs independently with high confidence that they are doing the right things.

MISSION, VISION and VALUES all work in concert to build the CULTURE of the business.  Defining and managing to a MISSION that makes sense, a VISION that is engaging and inspiring, and VALUES that present an attractive business personality creates a CULTURE that drives high performance.

A business will have a CULTURE in any event.  If it is a result of evolution, unclear direction and random behaviors, the CULTURE may be holding a business from its highest potential.  If the CULTURE is a deliberate design of business purpose, ultimate outcomes and supporting action, then the business may create a Commitment Culture that allows people to contribute to their utmost and the business to operate at its highest potential.

Sharper Counsel LLC is an executive short term assignment company dedicated to the improvement of high potential businesses.  In short, we do BUSINESS TUNEUPS.

We provide management consulting to accomplish business and organization assessments.  We specialize in business development and business process management and are one of the up and coming consulting firms in San Diego.  Our team is always eager to help you improve your business, so…

Give us a call today at 800-280-2452 !

Commitment Culture Series: Make an organization “tick”

Do you have a business that is awash with energy and enthusiasm and exceeding objectives time after time?  Or is your business being run by people that put in their hours and call it a day?

I was asked during an interview once upon a time “How do you make an organization tick?”  It is a very good question, and I provided a very good answer about clear definition of objectives, roles and responsibilities, providing adequate resources and support of the team and periodically reviewing progress to make sure works is happening as expected.  But I missed the point about “making it tick” and simply answered “making it work”. 

Making an organization “work” can be done in a business being run by people that put in their hours and call it a day.  But making an organization “tick” brings about a business that is awash with energy and enthusiasm that comes with exceeding objectives time after time.  An organization that “ticks” is an organization that is committed to the success of the business.  Most organizations are compliant to the work requirements placed on them and simply help the business work.

So what brings about the difference between commitment and compliance in an organization?  These two “c”-words with the same amount of letters are miles apart when it comes to organization performance.  Let’s spend some time studying why people come to work to understand better how to achieve commitment and high performance vs compliance and mediocrity.  People work for a variety of reasons and yes, earning a living is a key driver.  Yet underneath the finances there are stronger motivators. 

Some people work to drive their career.  They want to become good at what they have learned and be recognized for their competence.  They want to grow in their profession, get raises and promotions and basically improve their lot for themselves and their families over time.  These are good motivations for working simply beyond getting a paycheck.

Other people come to work because they are part of a team.  They like the people they work with every day and like working towards goals that are larger than themselves.  They affiliate with the social aspects of the job, get along in the team, have fun and add a strong feeling of camaraderie to their work day in addition to getting paid.

Still others work because they have other goals in their life that may have little to do with the business.  They are part of a club or a movement that provides life satisfaction beyond the 40-hour workweek and yes they want to do a good job at work, but they want more to do a good job beyond work and that is the real source of their motivation.

Another category of workers are driven by the profession they practice and identify more with their trade than with their company.  They are motivated towards professional accomplishment number one and whom they work with/work for number two.

And there are still others that work because they have to…no offense to the greatness of your business or the magnetism of your personality, but they come to work because of the paycheck and that’s it…

This is an incomplete list of employee motivations but suffices to describe that there are huge differences across employees regarding what brings them to work every day.  From a performance perspective, how does an organization take these disparate personalities and build them into a high performance system?  How can a company build something that outperforms its peers with such variety in its troops?

The key to moving from a “compliance culture” to a “commitment culture” starts with recognizing that this variety exists and also another key factor – people who work in an organization are volunteers, no matter what the organization thinks of their employees.  They make a choice every day to come back to work to do their job.  The only control an organization has over their employees is their paycheck and that is a very poor leverage point in the scheme of things.

In fact, the key error in the above paragraph is the word “control”.  That very word is a poor selection when it comes to high performance because the very essence of creating a commitment culture is by providing choice, not control.  Since people are basically volunteers and choose to come to work every day, how do you help them move beyond choosing to come to work, to choosing to do an exceptional job on every task, every day for years on end?  And since they are unique individuals all motivated in different ways, how does an organization help these very different people choose to do exceptional work as a matter of course?

If you want a truly high performance organization and you want to have a commitment culture, then recognize that people need to “link” to your business on their own terms.  Your responsibility as a leader in the business is to build an environment where this linking will occur naturally.  And with the variety of people in the organization, this environment is not monoform, it is multi-dimensional.

Provide a clear description of the business so that everyone understands what they are trying to accomplish together.  Describe a future state of the business that shows people what they are going to build through their efforts or where they are going as a team.  Call out standards of conduct for people in the organization and actively manage to these standards.  Provide assignments for the team that  challenges them individually and as groups.  Provide business performance feedback so that people understand how things are working or not working.  Recognize accomplishments across the board and reward people for their hard work in ways that are meaningful to them.  Provide opportunities for career advancement and skill development and help people grow to reach their potential.  And all along the way, have fun. 

Life is too short to spend it slaving away on some meaningless activity, in a place you don’t want to be with people you don’t like and not being recognized nor rewarded for effort expended and the accomplishments made.  That’s a good recipe for compliance at best.

And the day is not long enough when the tasks are aimed at greater goals, the environment is fun and friendly, you grow and get better every day with successes and not-so-successes, and you feel appreciated for the hard work that you enjoy doing.  That’s a good recipe for commitment and for making an organization “tick”…   

Sharper Counsel LLC is an executive short term assignment company dedicated to the improvement of high potential businesses.  In short, we do BUSINESS TUNEUPS.

We provide management consulting to accomplish current business assessment and organizational assessment.  We specialize in business development consulting and are one of the top consulting firms in San Diego.  Our team is always eager to help you improve your business, so…

Give us a call today at 800-280-2452 !

SHARPER COUNSEL

Sharper Counsel LLC is an executive short term assignment company dedicated to the improvement of high potential businesses.

In short, we do BUSINESS TUNEUPS.

We provide management consulting to accomplish business and organization assessments. We specialize in business development and business process management and are one of the up and coming consulting firms in San Diego. Our team is always eager to help you improve your business, so...

Give us a call today at 800.280.2452