Most people believe the key to a company’s success is in its heart and soul. The importance of building a winning organisational culture is unquestionable for leaders and managers who are looking to improve productivity within their workforce. However according to a survey by Bain & Company whilst over 68% of company executives believed their culture is a source of competitive advantage, less than 10% of businesses have a winning culture.
Culture is the glue that holds an organisation together and inspires employees. It motivates people to do the right thing, not just the easy thing. At companies with winning cultures, people not only know what they should do, they know why they should do it.
Whilst each culture is unique it is possible to identify six common attributes of a winning culture.
• High aspirations and a desire to win: they desire to do something better or faster.
• External focus: spend more time focussed on customers than internally marketing.
• A think like owners attitude: employees take responsibility for doing the right thing.
• Bias to action: high performing cultures get things done.
• Passion and energy: display infectious enthusiasm to everything they do.
• Individuals who team: they recognise the importance of teamwork.
A key question is therefore how does a leader go about building a winning culture? Company cultures that offer employees a strong sense of purpose and ownership are rare.
According to Anthony Rodio CEO of Your Mechanic (the industry leader in mobile car repair for consumers and fleets in the USA) there are four key steps to achieving this.
1. Ask simple questions to ensure that every employee is on the same page when it comes to the vision of the company and fully understands how their role fits into the company achieving its goals.
2. Be transparent about how success is measured. Each employee needs to understand how their performance is being measured and given clear objectives and goals as well as strategies for improving performance.
3. Give recognition publicly. Ensure success is shared around the business and celebrated internally and externally.
4. Cultivate and model emotional intelligence. So, when you or a team member feels stressed, anxious, or angry, do not look to project those feelings onto someone else.
In short building a winning culture is about empowering employees to be the best they can be giving them a sense of ownership and a clear pathway of how they themselves and their organisation will progress. It requires leaders at the heart of a structure with a vision, who are effective communicators and have a high degree of emotional intelligence. When you get it right, you will have highly aspirational employees with a constant desire to improve.