When we think of an inspiring culture we often think of Internet based businesses that have really cool work environments with swings and slides and other wild things. While this can contribute, it doesn’t always work because you can only inspire if all of the needs, including the base needs of employees are covered. It is like when you take your car to be fixed and you get it back cleaned with a big bottle of champagne, but still broken. What could have been a WOW factor has just fizzed.
In our experience an inspiring culture must address four basic needs. It must providecertainty, feel like a family where people get a sense of belonging, create opportunities to grow and to contribute to something bigger than itself. Here, guided by these needs we’ve highlighted our 10 keys to creating an Inspiring Culture.
1. Culture of Trust
When employees trust their leaders and know they too are trusted, when what is said and shared is transparent and can also be trusted, when they all are being acknowledged and given constructive feedback, they feel safe to be who they are and to bring all of themselves to work.
2. Clear Expectations
When there is an absence of clear expectations there is uncertainty, confusion and doubt and it sets up for disappointment down the track. Especially when an employee is working toward what they think is expected only to find out that it wasn’t. When people are clear about what is expected they can deliberately work towards delivering it, thereby gaining much higher levels of confidence and satisfaction.
3. Consistency and Fairness
Employees like to know that their leader is going to be there for a while, is treating every team member equally and is applying their rules consistently and fairly. This creates stability and strong foundations.
4. The Right People
We spend so much time at work it is important that employees feel at home and part of a family. Building such a community starts with consciously choosing the right people. Often people are hired for experience and fired for behavioural reasons. There are unfortunately too many examples of great companies that lost a good culture due to a suboptimal recruiting process. So recruit likeminded people that value and can live what is important in the company project management steps.
5. Rewards and Recognition
Leaders in top performing companies praise their highly engaged people often and reward behaviour that is aligned with what the company stands for, not only their results. Some companies are so serious about their inspiring culture that they don’t pay bonuses to people who achieved their commercial KPIs when they haven’t also delivered their cultural promises. By highlighting desired behaviour you magnify what you’d like to see.
6. Activities and Rituals
Every culture has its customs and rituals. It could be swings and slides but make sure they are consciously designed such that they boost the values and make them come alive on a daily basis. Create legends and stories of people who are living examples of the culture you want to create and inspire others to do the same.
7. Compelling Vision
Most employees like to be part of a company that is going places and are inspired if their leaders have a vision that is compelling and exciting to work towards, because it gives them a perspective and clear opportunities to grow and develop themselves.
8. Develop People
Most people remember that one teacher that made a difference in their life because they saw their potential and helped them achieve it. In an inspiring culture leaders help others be successful, recognise the potential in them, encourage, challenge and develop them to be the best they can be.
9. Celebrate Successes
Often forgotten but key to inspire future successes is to stop and celebrate what has been achieved, do it in style and make an impact, so that everyone gets to feel proud of the progress. Celebrations of milestones are rocket fuel for future success.
10. Higher Purpose
Last but not least it is a clear sense of purpose that ignites peoples passion. Working towards something bigger than profit, that makes a difference and contributes to something bigger than ourselves gives meaning. When a company’s purpose is felt in everything the company and their people do, when it influences their decision making and guides their actions, then staff, clients and the community at large get to experience it, benefit from it and be inspired.