So many managers seem to switch off the possibility of perceptual internal data-roaming when they arrive at the office. Oh yes, they allow incoming calls from clients, digest information at meetings and give people instructions, but fail to permit their internal “data cards” to pick up and receive important company culture, behavioural or relational employee information, perhaps assuming that any problems or concerns will sort themselves out over time. This mistaken assumption that influences leaders not to have their fingers on the cultural pulse of the organisation leads to frustration, irritation, possibly even despair and ultimately cultural degradation. The seeming lack of openness on the part of managers with respect to people’s concerns strongly emits an “I don’t care” message and trust declines. The culture becomes toxic.
Growing a company culture that enables the employees to produce at consistently high levels is a daily process. Guided by a set of values and corresponding alignment of behaviour from all in leadership positions, the cultural building-blocks are deliberately set in place and referred to constantly. The values define how we treat our customers, our suppliers, the environment and each other. Company objectives and goals set the cultural pace. Performance management discussions keep everyone on track. Issues are dealt with compassionately, but firmly. Ideas are taken seriously, tweaked if necessary and implemented appropriately. Information is shared liberally so that all are in the know and transparency levels are upheld. There is a constant focus on productivity and achievement is acknowledged and rewarded. Employees are recognised for discretionary effort and a pride is developed for quality. This deliberate focus on culture sets the tone and clarifies performance and behaviour expectations for everyone. A growth culture is formed.
“Leadership is intentional influence” (Tim Tassopoulos, COO of Chik-fil-A). To be able to influence successfully, leaders need to have their internal data-roaming switched on – be sensitised to the concerns of employees and the environment in which the employees work, listen intently and act swiftly on the cultural data they receive.