Recently during a conversation with a young leader, who had been moved to a new department, I was asked a question about an organization’s culture I have heard multiple times. You see, the leader was charged with strengthening the culture of a department which was underperforming.
I know you’re wondering what the question was, right? It is a simple question; however, it has significant ramifications. The question is, “Where do I begin?” While the leader understood the value of a strong culture, the leader was struggling to identify how to start the process of improving the underperforming department.
Here’s what I shared with that young leader…
Organizational culture isn’t completely static. As a result, there will be opportunities to strengthen and evolve your culture. One way of doing this is through feedback. While you can encourage random feedback, having an established process can be even more effective.
I also gave him five questions he could ask his team members to help strengthen their organizational culture. They are:
- What improvements or changes would you like to see in our culture? Every team member has at least an idea about how things could be made better. Of course, many ideas won’t be feasible, but you’re sure to get some good suggestions.
- What is your biggest gripe or pet peeve about our current culture? If you’re hearing the same complaints from multiple team members, you have an excellent opportunity to make everyone happy with a few changes. Fixing something that annoys everyone is more powerful than adding something that everyone likes.
- What do I need to do to be a better leader? You’ll have to dig to get honest answers because many team members are reluctant to criticize their leader. But this is some of the best information you’ll receive. It’s not easy for us to see our shortcomings.
- What have you been doing to grow yourself as a team member? Encourage team members to strengthen their talents and develop new ones. This does great things for the culture of your organization. By asking the question, you create action in your team members.
- What is the one thing you would change about our product or service? Your team members are bound to have some good ideas on how to improve your products and services. Many heads are better than one.
“There’s no magic formula for great organizational culture. The key is to just treat your staff how you would like to be treated.”– Richard Branson
Get some form of feedback from your team members regarding your products, services, culture, and management. Don’t just ask for this; make it a part of the culture.
It not only gives you a ton of valuable information, but your interest in their input also sets the tone for your organization’s culture.
You’re simultaneously showing that you value communication and regular improvement. The team also knows that you value their opinions and feedback.
To get the best feedback, the use of anonymous suggestions might be beneficial. You could ask your team members to submit a form each month with replies to these questions.
Remember, the leader sets the tone for the organization. Therefore, building a positive culture is critical to the success of the organization and the leader.
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