In his new book, The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace, author Chris Edmonds identifies a common problem that keeps many leaders from addressing potentially dysfunctional corporate cultures—they aren’t aware of how bad it really is!
In Edmonds’ experience, leaders—especially senior leaders at the highest levels in organizations, are often disconnected from their company’s culture as experienced by the rank and file members of the organization.
Wondering if you might be out of touch with what is happening in your organization? Here are four questions to ask yourself to make sure that you are getting an accurate read of what is happening inside your company.
- Are you overly insulated? Over time, leaders unintentionally find themselves depending on a select group of people closest to them at the top of the organization to give them information about what is happening throughout all the different layers of the organization. Edmonds’ suggestion? Increase the number of your sources inside the company. Get out of the office to learn from different people throughout the organization to ensure you’re getting a bigger, more accurate picture.
- Are you genuinely connecting with others? Employees know which leaders are truly interested in them as people, not just in them as contributors or “cogs in a wheel.” Edmonds recommends that leaders connect at a personal level. Engage in conversations beyond business. Over time, these genuine connections will enable others to tell you their perceptions, concerns, and hopes.
- Do you have truth-tellers? It is all too common for leaders to surround themselves with people who reinforce the leader’s current beliefs and perceptions. However, the most effective leaders also have truth-tellers included in their inner circle—people who aren’t afraid of sharing their perceptions of the reality of the leader’s plans, decisions, and actions. Knowing more people’s truths can help make the leader’s future decisions more effective.
- Have you checked your assumptions lately? Edmonds recommends that leaders check their assumptions on a regular basis by sharing them with team members. Listen without defending and continue to refine your assumptions, plans, decisions, and actions.
Creating an uplifting and engaging culture begins by identifying where you are at and where you can improve. The key is accurate information!
To learn more about ways to accurately identify and improve your corporate culture be sure to check out The Culture Engine microsite. You can download a free chapter of Edmonds’ new book and see some of the additional questions he recommends for assessing your organization. For a more in-depth look at the topic, join Edmonds and Weaving Influence host Becky Robinson for a free October 1 webinar on Driving Results With An Organizational Constitution