Every organization, whether there are 5 or 50,000 employees, has a culture. In the midst of COVID-19, we’ve seen varying degrees of impact on company culture for organizations of all sizes and sectors. It may feel like your company culture is being put under a magnifying glass, with uncertainties arising about how it will be adapted and maintained.
In some cases, new cultural norms are being developed that are moving away from their original intentions. At Conscious Culture Group, we regularly hear clients express that their culture has changed during COVID-19, and they wish they could go back to what it was before.
During “normal” times, the culture conversation begins with a leadership team offsite session to gain clarity on what is unique about the organization. It is a collaborative effort by all leadership team members that define the current state and future desires of their culture.
These customized offsite sessions provide an opportunity for the leadership team to:
- Learn what makes a successful leadership team
- Rate themselves as a team by identifying strengths and challenges
- Be more vulnerable and learn more about each other
- Understand the importance of engagement and the tie between engagement and culture
- Define culture and conscious culture
- Draft their own unique vision, mission, values, and behaviors
What happens after the initial culture conversation?
Sometimes very little! If that is the case, the culture and leadership credibility has gone two steps back. Culture is not the poster on the wall or language on the website. It should not be perceived as the program of the month that will die with other company lead programs that were “important”. It takes time and persistence to integrate the culture.
A successful culture transformation takes leaders who internalize and model the intentional behaviors tied to the values. Defining the culture, though very important, is just the beginning of the journey.
What can you do as a next step to promote your conscious culture?
Once the unique vision, mission, values and behaviors are agreed-upon, organizations can implement some of these 10 ideas to drive the desired conscious culture:
1. Include the vision, mission, values and behaviors often in meetings, using real-world stories that demonstrate the desired state
2. Build a team to create traditions around the vision and mission
3. Share how values drive business decisions
4. Visibly recognize employees who demonstrate the values and behaviors
5. Design a culture survey tied to your unique culture and share the results with everyone
6. Communicate the culture action plan
7. Discuss mistakes and lessons learned that are not aligned to the values and behaviors
8. Send daily reminders of the vision, mission, values and behaviors to reinforce the intentions (this is particularly important during COVID-19).
9. Create virtual boards that demonstrate the values through action (e.g., enjoy life with pictures of employees enjoying life)
10. Hold virtual employee and customer focus groups discussing strengths and challenges of meeting values and behavior expectations
We have many more ways of reinforcing a defined culture. For more ideas on creating and supporting a conscious culture, email us at [email protected].
Russ Elliot is the founder, chief consultant and executive coach of the Conscious Culture Group®, a culture consulting and executive coaching company focused on creating unique intentional cultures that are great places to work. The Conscious Culture Group® builds a bridge between the leadership’s vision and the employee experience through customized solutions. Russ serves as a consultant, executive coach, educator, trainer and speaker.
Become better … Together.
Visit RussElliot.com to learn more about Russ as an executive coach.