Ideas for Improving Your Team Culture in the New Year

Managers who create positive, respectful team cultures are tremendous assets to their organizations: they help protect it from the legal, financial and reputation risk; they  create large productivity gains; they are guides along the path.

As you look ahead to the new year, here are three steps you can take to make your team culture even stronger:

  1. Model the behavior you expect. Employees are professional “boss watchers.” What they see you do, they will tend to do also (both the bad and the good).
  2. Spend time talking with your team very candidly and directly about your company’s values, the behaviors expected and the workplace culture desired. Don’t assume people “just get it.” They don’t. Converation about values and what they mean, with practical examples, makes the culture come together.
  3. Take time to talk about what success it looks like when it’s achieved the right way. And talk how achieving success the wrong way destroys a team and a company; it very much will.

A company I once worked for had a simple statement about it’s values: We will do the right thing. This simple statement held tremendous power. It drove behavior based in the highest ethical standards. It triggered great conversations.

What’s your simple statement that encapsulates your values and the culture you’re seeking to create? Perhaps this is a topic for the next discussion with your team.

[Photo By Viktor Hanacek]


Leadership Behaviors Make or Break Companies

your actionsMy work with four different organizations over this past year have reinforced my conviction that leadership behaviors make or break organization success.

In three situations, the top leader was unaware that his behavior was directly contributing to the dysfunction in his company. In none of these situations was the top leader able to discover and fix these challenges on his own. Two required intervention by the board.

Here are key lessons for leaders from these four engagements: Continue reading

Leading Through Change

change-300Do you manage change or do you lead through change?

For me, change has always been a leadership issue. As business owners or other leaders in our organization, it’s up to us to lead our organizations, our teams and our peers through change to our desired outcomes.

My years of moving people and organizations through change have convinced me of 4 Rules: Continue reading

Firing Henry: The Hardest Decision You Have to Make

firedFiring someone is the among the hardest decisions a business owner needs to make. And the most necessary.

A long time CEO and I were talking recently about the work of a leader and our conversation turned to the challenge of having the right people on one’s team and taking action when someone is not a good fit and needs to move on.

And here’s the reality: everyone in the organization is watching you.

I’ve found over the years three critical times to take action: Continue reading

Get aligned

When teams are not alignedWhen teams aren’t productive, check to see if they’re aligned…

High performing teams are, unfortunately, rare. Dysfunctional teams are distressingly common. And, even when not dysfunctional, many teams simply are not working together effectively to accomplish results.

Over the years, I’ve found several common threads to this lack of effectiveness: Continue reading

Ambush Unionizing Elections and the NLRB

Oh my goshThe NLRB has reissued its controversial proposed regulations permitting union organizers to ambush companies with greatly shortened notification times for unionizing elections. These regulations were originally proposed in 2011, faced vociferous opposition from business groups and the D.C. Court of Appeals invalidated them on a technicality. The NLRB has returned for another shot at implementing them. Business owners should be very concerned.

But, more importantly, business owners have a proactive defense to union organizing efforts IF YOU’RE PAYING ATTENTION. Continue reading

Preventing Train Wrecks

RRP Download200How does one best communicate the value one brings to a client? We all try in various ways. Yet people keep asking me “What do you do?”

This brochure is my latest effort to crisply (I hope) summarize the kind of work I do for my clients and answer that question.

My marketing friends tell me: Keep it focused to just a few items that you want to be known for! Be known for just two or three key things you do, and preferably one. Continue reading

Culture reinforces ethical behavior

Compass Pointing the Way to Integrity in BusinessA recent guest column in the Washington Post titled “Can you teach businessmen to be ethical?” caught my attention this morning. It’s worth reading what the author, Jonathan Haidt, a professor at New York University Stern School of Business, has to say about teaching ethics in business school.

Haidt writes: “But after much searching, I have yet to find any evidence that a single ethics class, on its own, can improve ethical behavior after the course has ended. So what more can be done?”

My experience tells me that ethics is not a business school issue. It is a corporate governance and company culture issue. And what his article got me thinking about was: “How do we reinforce ethical behavior in our organizations?”  

Continue reading

Achieving sustainable growth requires commitment

MP900398775Achieving sustainable growth requires commitment from the whole company to build a culture that can adapt to ongoing changes in a competitive environment.In it’s research, the Gallup organization identifies six crucial components that determine a company’s ability to create a high-performance culture — one that improves top- and bottom-line business metrics. Continue reading

Thinking like an owner

think like an ownerEvery so often I’m asked by frustrated business owners, “How can I get my employees to work the way I work, take care of our customers as passionately as I do, bring the same commitment I have?” 

Again tonight a frustrated business owner asked, “I pay everyone very well, I offer great benefits, I pay for people to have their cell phones and all the tools they need. Why am I the only one responding to customer’s calls over the weekend? Why am I the only one jumping in the truck after hours to go fix a problem at a customer’s site? Why don’t my employees make this same commitment?”

In sum, “How do I get my employees to act like an owner?” Continue reading