Understanding Culture as a Strategic Driver
SKILLBUILDER 1: GETTING OTHERS ON BOARD
A great team culture requires everyone’s commitment and work. You’re on board; you understand the strategic value of a culture that promotes pride, trust and community. But maybe you work with a peer, employee, or supervisor who doesn’t see the importance of culture yet.
If your colleague has misconceptions about Go Big or how your team or unit is focusing on culture, it’s great to correct those. But to really bring them along, you need to widen the circle so that they’re part of it, rather than only asking them to step into a circle you’ve already defined.
This article from ERE argues that when your colleagues resist change, they’re actually telling you what still needs to be fixed. Here’s how they recommend you respond:
1. Be curious about their objections, which creates a space for a real discussion, rather than trying to argue your point, which instead creates a conflict.
Be curious about their reluctance. They might be more task-oriented than relationship-oriented; that is, more focused on productivity and achieving their goals than on relationship with others or others’ feelings about the work. Maybe they’re feeling overwhelmed by their work, and can’t imagine spending time on an additional priority. Or maybe they’ve had a bad experience with “culture work” in the past and they don’t trust our process. Whatever their reasons, try to understand and empathize with them.
2. Turn their objections into objectives.
When your colleague shares concerns, they are telling you what they need in order to help work toward a great workplace culture. Help them rephrase their their concerns as changes they could make. For example, if they tell you they think culture is “fluffy” and hard to prioritize amidst all their other work, that can become “We need to more clearly explain how culture makes our work more efficient and stronger.”
3. Ask them for help.
With an objective statement in hand, you’re all set to ask for their expertise and effort in helping to improve how your team does culture. Ask them what specifically they would like to see change in how you approach building a team culture, and give them opportunities to begin to effect that change.
- What is organizational culture? (HBR)
- Culture matters most (HBR)
- Cultural Change that Sticks (HBR)
- Proof that Positive Work Cultures are More Productive (HBR)
- Organizational culture matters on the bottom line
- Why invest in culture? (Great Place to Work)
- Workplace Change, Culture & Innovation Case Studies
- The Statistical Case for Company Culture