February 23, 2022
Want to optimize talent, foster innovation, and inspire loyalty amongst your staff? Diane Dye Hansen, chief management consultant at What Works Consultants, Inc., says the secret begins and ends with your company culture. Too often, however, companies settle for buzzwords rather than developing a vision statement with input from all. Diane joins Jason to discuss cultivating a healthy, productive work environment using research and data-driven assessment tools. She also shares one exercise guaranteed to help organizations define authentic company culture for themselves.
"You really have to, as a leader, look at the internal workings of your organization to make sure that it's aligned to deliver the service-level quality that you're looking for, for your external customers," Diane says. She challenges her clients to review the words that currently define their culture and critically assess whether or not they can back those words with action. "I think this is incredibly important because culture can be such a fluffy thing," she says, "or it can be such a productive thing."
In Diane's experience, organizational cultures possess one of two distinct vibrations: anabolic or catabolic. Catabolic cultures enjoy a strong buy-in from everyone within the organization. There's a shared desire to contribute to the creativity and growth of the company. On the other hand, anabolic environments are mired in blame-based management tactics and exclusion, resulting in negative company cultures.
Companies committed to recalibrating organizational integrity can begin by asking their employees to complete the following statement: The way we work around here is… The answers are often revelatory. From diagnosing internal struggles to highlighting opportunities for innovation, this simple ask can transform company culture for the better––and the future. "The C-level may be on the hook for it, but it's a fallacy to think that an executive can get in a room with a bunch of executives and figure out what is going on on the bottom level," Diane says.
Diane's "simple ask" can also inform future hiring decisions. "It all boils down to how you hire people. You design your processes and your teams, you inspire them, and you move them through a process of inculturation," she says. Action-oriented, inclusive company culture goes further in securing and keeping quality employees than words emblazoned on a lobby wall.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
"A culture, it needs to be so much more than a mission and vision statement inside some business plan or worse, writing on the wall, where you put your big mission up on the wall, and all the employees see it as they walk in each day. It has to be action. There have to be operational ties to your mission to operationalize your culture."
"Business as usual: it can be one of the greatest stagnators of innovation."
"Cultures that are very innovation-driven are often very intrepreneurial in nature, so they expect their employees to be always thinking about better ways to do things and better ways to innovate."
"You need to be unwilling to unlearn what you think; that is the absolute key to innovation is being able, being willing to unlearn what you think you know."
"Leaders need to start thinking of what am I doing on a daily basis to reinforce what I want to produce?"
"If we start to live this action-driven operational culture, now we're installing it throughout the organization, so we're not going to be surprised at what we get once we get them to start day one."
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.