CUL­TURE BUILD­ING AND VALUES: WHY IT MAT­TERS

GALIA BARHAVA- MONTEITH AND MARISA FONG EX­PLAIN WHY IT'S IM­POR­TANT TO HAVE AN EX­CEL­LENT AND HIGH- PER­FORM­ING CUL­TURE – NOT LEAST OF WHICH TO AVOID BE­ING IN THE HEAD­LINES FOR ALL THE WRONG REA­SONS.

NZ Business - - CONTENTS -

Galia Barhava-Monteith and Marisa Fong ex­plain why it’s im­por­tant to have an ex­cel­lent and high per­form­ing cul­ture – not least of which to avoid be­ing in the head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons.

Like us, you may have been think­ing a lot about re­cent events re­ported in the pa­per and so­cial me­dia around sex­ual ha­rass­ment and bul­ly­ing. Are you won­der­ing how this hap­pened in or­gan­i­sa­tions that should have known bet­ter, and are you con­cerned about your work­place and/ or other work­places?

To us this was both sad and shock­ing that these things still hap­pen; we ac­tu­ally thought that here, in ‘God­zone’, we had evolved be­yond such ob­vi­ously aw­ful be­hav­iour. So, why is it still hap­pen­ing? You may be won­der­ing – how is it that with every­thing we read and hear in con­ven­tional and so­cial me­dia, and with all the cour­ses be­ing run by big and small com­pa­nies, why does such be­hav­ior still hap­pen? You would think that highly ed­u­cated, pro­fes­sional and re­spected mem­bers of the com­mu­nity would know bet­ter.

So here’s where the rub­ber hits the road. It is about or­gan­i­sa­tional cul­ture, and what peo­ple can get away with in an or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Cul­ture isn’t a nice to have, it’s essen­tial. As the say­ing goes: “Cul­ture eats strat­egy for lunch”.

Cul­ture is the op­er­at­ing sys­tem in your com­pany; it’s the in­vis­i­ble code that ex­ists.

In the ab­sence of lead­er­ship writ­ing and set­ting that code, your peo­ple will cre­ate it.

That’s fine if they have the same values as you, but can you leave some­thing so im­por­tant to chance?

At TBC we are in­ter­ested in those who get it right. Rather than fo­cus on those who get things so very wrong, we’d rather ask: What do the com­pa­nies who get it right do?

And, most im­por­tantly, how can you tell if you’re one of those com­pa­nies?

Here’s ‘ the tells’: • Your staff stay. • You have less than your in­dus­try av­er­age of sick days. • They rec­om­mend the com­pany to fam­ily and friends and ac­tively

re­cruit them if va­can­cies come up. • Peo­ple al­ways ap­proach the com­pany to see if va­can­cies ex­ist and

will go on a wait­list if nec­es­sary. • There’s a com­mon lan­guage (phrases, say­ings, be­liefs) that

ev­ery­one un­der­stands. • Ev­ery­one knows the pur­pose of the or­gan­i­sa­tion and it’s usu­ally a

heart-based mis­sion. • They recog­nise the com­pany’s values and be­hav­iours are clearly in

line or not. • High per­form­ing staff are cel­e­brated, but they are also cor­rected if

their be­hav­ior isn’t con­sis­tent with the com­pany’s values.

If you hon­estly asked your­self what the state of your cul­ture is, would you be able to tell us? How would you rate it? If you don’t know, then you need to find out. Why? • Be­cause rep­u­ta­tion ar­rives by foot, but de­parts on horse­back. • Be­cause we’re in a world fac­ing tal­ent short­ages. • Staff are just as im­por­tant as cus­tomers, if not more so. • Be­cause you want your or­gan­i­sa­tion to be a shin­ing light, not the

warn­ing to oth­ers!

There isn’t a lot of point hav­ing values splashed all over your wall and hope that it’s enough to get you there. Values need to be brought to life and there are many ways of do­ing this, au­then­ti­cally and with courage.

Here’s what we’ve ob­served in clients who have an ex­cel­lent and high per­form­ing cul­ture. • They un­der­stand why they ex­ist (their pur­pose), and it’s not just

about mak­ing money or achiev­ing sales fig­ures. • They only bring in A-play­ers (and know what that looks like for

their com­pany). • There’s a great on­board­ing process that goes be­yond the first

few days. • They build con­ver­sa­tions around their values. • They link pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive be­hav­iours to those values. • They tell great sto­ries about the com­pany, clients and their peo­ple

that demon­strate their pur­pose. • They call out bad be­hav­iour – even if the per­son is a high per­former in terms of sales or earn­ings, and set­ting a high bar for per­for­mance. • They have fun and there’s a cul­ture of ac­count­abil­ity, but not

blame. • There’s con­stant coach­ing and a strong fo­cus on growth.

It’s no co­in­ci­dence that all of this hap­pens in suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies. And it makes sense; if peo­ple are your great­est as­set (that oft quoted phrase) then that’s where the lead­er­ship need to spend most of their time and ef­fort.

Un­for­tu­nately, as we’ve seen in the head­lines, when profit seems to be the only driver poor be­hav­iour is over­looked when its per­pe­trated by a high rev­enue gen­er­a­tor. This may work in the short-term, maybe even in the mid-term, but it’s never a sus­tain­able long-term op­tion. Some­where along the way the or­gan­i­sa­tion and all the good peo­ple in it pay for it.

AC­CEP­TANCE EQUALS CON­DON­ING

What you ac­cept, you con­done. Is this some­thing that con­cerns you? Do you re­mem­ber ex­am­ples of a high per­form­ing sales per­son get­ting away with bad be­hav­iour? Is it some­thing that’s oc­cur­ring right now in your or­gan­i­sa­tion?

It’s easy to think we’re be­ing alarmist about this and, as a busi­ness owner, you may want to bury your head – af­ter all, we have enough to deal with right now.

How­ever, is it ever too soon to want to build a cul­ture that seeks ex­cel­lence and is self-driven to per­form? Isn’t that the pot of gold we all strive for?

IF THIS IS SOME­THING THAT YOU'D LIKE TO WORK TO­WARDS, THEN CON­TACT [email protected] TBC. PART­NERS ANDWE'LL BE IN TOUCH WITH OUR NEXT WORK­SHOP DATE. GALIA BARHAVA- MONTEITH AND MARISA FONG ARE CO- OWN­ERS OF TBC PART­NERS. ( WWW.TBC. PART­NERS)

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