Companies roll out strategies into the marketplace every day.
Yet most strategies don’t actually work because even the smartest companies subscribe to the myth that a strategy has to be planned well to be successful.
In fact, a strategy has to be implemented well to be successful.
The relationship between a company and its employee culture is essential to business success.
Company strategy requires “ferocious support” from the employee culture to be successful.
“You’re building a base camp on Mount Delusional if you think any strategy or any goal will be successful without the hardcore support of this particular group,” Slap said.
An employee culture is more than simply a group of employees; it’s a group of people that share the same basic lifestyle, environment and traditions. A culture is made up of shared beliefs about the rules of survival and emotional prosperity for a group.
“You cannot bribe, bluff or bully your employee culture into sustainably doing or believing anything,” Slap emphasized.
It’s not a matter of informing your culture; it’s a matter of inspiring. It’s not a matter of logic; it’s a matter of using logical methods to stir a response.
A company, no matter the location or industry, has the same cultural conditions as a primitive tribe in a Samoan jungle. Concrete walls, desk chairs and even electricity don’t change the fact that stories about a company will continue to be told internally over and over, and managers will never hear these stories.
Because management is outside of the culture trying to sell it something.
Despite any disconnects that exist between management and culture, employee culture is not naturally anti-management.
“It’s actually the simplest operating system in the world,” Slap said. “It is an information-gathering organism designed to ensure its own survival.”
Your employee culture will give you anything you want, as long as you give it what it wants first.
Understanding what a company culture wants is the difference between its defiance and its compliance.
Use these four factors to maximize the commitment of your employee culture:
Employee cultures are notoriously resistant to change, but it isn’t that they hate change. Instead, they hate the loss of what change represents: the loss of the known.
By the time the change is revealed to employees, executives have been able to process it, but employees are expected to hear it, embrace it and implement it in about 60 seconds. Change is an uncomfortable reminder of how little control employees have over their work lives.
When communicating change to a company, management should spend twice as much time telling employees what will stay the same as they do sharing what will change.
Managers think communication is about informing, but when you are communicating to an employee culture, the purpose must be to persuade.
If your employee culture doesn’t understand what you’re talking about right away, it’s going to ignore management and circulate its own version of what is happening and why.
Or even worse, it’ll conclude management is purposely obscuring its message.
Successful managers recognize the culture’s understandable cynicism and aren’t intimidated by it.
Communication needs to be sincere, heartfelt, empathic to the world of the employees and simple. Banning words such as paradigm, empowerment and synergy can be useful — only management uses these words. Management must talk to their employee culture like it talks to itself.
Management regularly overestimates the importance of money to an employee culture.
Successful employee cultures understand the meaning behind the money management offers them. They understand their company and cultural value.
Any manager has a budget to provide things money can’t buy. For example, managers could take the time to handwrite team members letters explaining their value. It costs nothing, but yields a lot.
"Your work culture wants to know the meaning of the money. Is getting a bonus a reliable indicator of my safety?" @stanslap @ISaccelerate
— Jed Morley (@jed_morley) March 19, 2015
Management wants a leap of faith from their employees on a regular basis, but an employee culture doesn’t naturally trust management because doing so renders the culture vulnerable.
“To be granted trust without knowledge is the rarest gift of all,” Slap noted.
If a company has been caught up in a trust fracture, the first rule of management is to sanction the inevitable. Tell the team this was part of the plan and only ask for a little bit of trust at a time. Think in terms of 30, 60 or 90 days, and then come back and ask for more once the smaller promise is delivered. Employee culture wants confidence.
— Amanda Holmes (@amandaholmes) March 19, 2015
Knowing how a company culture works and how to work it can be the difference between career success and failure.
“You can’t sell it outside, if you can’t sell it inside,” Slap said, reminding managers that the success of a company’s products starts with the success of its people.
A culture’s profound search for meaning and safety is a reminder that we all want the same thing. Treating a culture with respect and empathy is a mirror to a manager’s humanity. Be human first and a manager second.
— eEditor (@eEditor) March 19, 2015
Looking for additional ways to build your sales team? Download the How to Build a World-Class Sales Development Team ebook below.
Free eBook: How to Build a World-Class Sales Development Team
Discover how to recruit, hire, compensate and coach a sales development team that will increase lead conversion rates and lower total sales costs.
Image Credit: @RyanD_Johnston via Twitter