Updated: Jan 27, 2022
One of my favourite things is managing people. I love bringing teams together to work towards a common goal. Seeing employees and colleagues excited and challenged about the work they do is incredibly satisfying. Playing a role in creating that type of environment throughout my career has made me passionate about making a difference in the world of work.
Sadly, I’ve seen too many instances where a manager or an organisation goes a bit adrift and loses the focus on their most valuable asset - their employees. Smart and committed people begin to fade away because the organisation isn’t thriving culturally and doesn’t capitalise on their strengths. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
A thoughtful, positive culture can bring out the best in employees and create long-term sustainable business growth. Recent Gallup research shows that “productivity among highly engaged teams is 14% higher than that of teams with the lowest engagement -- and that employees who are not engaged cost their company the equivalent of 18% of their annual salary.” It almost seems too good to be true - engaged employees and an improved bottom line.
Today’s business leaders have a lot on their plates. They are balancing multiple generations of workers who each have a different view and expectation of the workforce. The shift to a work from home environment is adding a new layer of complexity. Not to mention the urgent need for improving inclusion and diversity in a moment of time where the world is demanding change.
When you are trying to manage and lead in a changing world, sometimes you don’t know where to begin. You know something is not quite clicking the way it should be, but you don’t know how to articulate it. Maybe you are experiencing higher turnover than in the past. Maybe innovation is declining. Things are taking too long to get done around here these days. Or perhaps your employees just don’t seem as motivated as they once were. Whatever the warning bells may be, you know it’s time to make a change.
The first step towards unlocking the human potential within your organisation should be through a systematic and cyclical process of discovery, understanding and action. Take the time to audit your culture and discover what your culture is through science-based data and deep conversation with the right questions. Using a strengths-focused approach helps keep the conversation from spiralling into what's wrong with the world and fosters innovative and creative thinking. Sometimes the conversations are challenging and they should be. That is where the real growth begins. Uncovering the markers of a high performing, inclusive organisation is going to take work, but the rewards are worth it.
Then comes action. Discovery and understanding are powerful in isolation, but real potential is unearthed with clear action. Culture can be a little messy (sometimes very messy). It can take energy and focus to wade through and we can sometimes get lost and stuck. It’s vital that clear actions, systems, processes are put in place (or taken away) to facilitate real and meaningful culture change.
Humans don't remain static and neither does engagement nor culture. So once the process is complete, rinse and repeat.
A Better Work