“I don’t know everyone’s name. I’m embarrassed because I think I should know their names.”
When I interviewed the president of a big insurance firm, I didn’t realize that I’d strike a nerve so soon after our conversation began. This was years ago, but my recollection is powerful.
I recently attended the Ultimate Culture Conference, produced by Human Synergistics. I was blown away by the amount of “real talk” by the expert speakers and panelists. From enabling growth culture, to creating positive change and humble leadership, there was one consistent theme throughout the conference: transformation. At one point, I heard someone ask: “What if changing 30 percent of one thing could improve 100 percent of everything?”
To my fellow entrepreneurs, take a look around. At the way things run. At the revenue stream. At the systems in place. From how you conduct business to the end result, is what you’re doing really working?
I often ask the leaders for whom I consult two simple questions:
First, “Do you need positive feedback to do your best at work—like you need air and water?” Typically, a small percentage will say yes.
Second, I ask the question with a twist: “When you get an ‘atta-boy’ or ‘atta-girl,’ does it make a difference?” Almost everyone, every time, says yes!
When I speak with senior leaders, I ask them about their organization’s performance. They are quick to note where results are stellar and where they have a need for improvement. They are very familiar with their performance data and share it with little hesitation.
When I ask these same senior leaders about the quality of their work culture, they stumble. They hesitate. They don’t have the data regarding the effectiveness of their work culture at their fingertips.
Why are most leaders so comfortable with tracking results and, at the same time, so disconnected from understanding the health of their work culture?
As the first culture-shaping consulting firm, Senn Delaney has quite literally made organizational culture its business. Larry Senn and his colleagues, including partner and executive vice president Bill Parsons, have brought their mission of “creating healthy, high-performance cultures” to more than 500 companies. Bill shared some of the knowledge they’ve gathered over their 38 years of experience at the 2nd Annual Ultimate Culture Conference—including the four principles that must be upheld to really shape culture and improve performance.