Early in my career, during lunch, I walked past a couple of people and as I got closer I could hear a bit of their conversation. One said “It’s all about”… and then their voice dropped to a whisper and their posture completely changed to somewhat of a crouch, and they said… “cultural change”.
It made me smile and I thought. Why are you whispering about cultural change? You don’t get cultural change if you don’t TALK to EVERYONE about cultural change. You want to talk about the changes you want to see constantly. If you want a high-performing organization and don’t have one, you need to talk about what a high-performing organization looks like. You want to discuss how to make sure high-valued employees are motivated to stay. Tell people that you don’t want their work to be ineffective and help them make it effective. Talk about it because the conversation and the action create the change.
Do you want people to be willing and able to share open and honest feedback with each other? Do so yourself and say why you are doing it.
Do you want managers to be held accountable for setting expectations of the behavior of their employees and the results they deliver? Do so yourself. Say why.
Want more honesty? Be honest and say you expect honesty.
Want more drive to deliver than ever before? Talk about why it’s important.
You want people to stop losing their focus doing work because of a squeaky wheel, and have more focus on doing the work that demonstrates the most value to the company. Talk about how to keep your attention on the most valuable work. Then do it.
Reward people for doing the right things, in a smart way, with less effort. Tell people you think it’s a problem when they act as the heros that work 80 hour work weeks to put out the fires caused by poor planning. Talk about how planning ahead will avoid those fires so people can shut down at the end of their shift and enjoy their lives.
Don’t whisper about it. That does not create a cultural change.
Create the shift. One person can make a huge difference.
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