I had the pleasure of spending yesterday morning listening to two dynamic speakers: Dan Heath and Chris LoCurto. I was familiar with Dan Heath as one-half of the Heath Brothers duo that has written two outstanding books, Made to Stick and Switch. Chris LoCurto is a vice president in the organization of personal finance expert Dave Ramsey. Heath’s presentation was full of salient points from his books and informative as expected. I was unsure about what to expect from LoCurto’s presentation, but he knocked it out of the park with a theme of “Culture Can’t Wait.”
Creating a culture committed to customers and employees requires leaders make a commitment in five areas:
1. Force It – Establish the culture that is desired; create change if needed
2. Teach It – Employees must learn what norms and behaviors are consistent with the desired culture
3. Recognize It – We are quick to admonish behavior or performance that does not meet expectations. Do we praise employees when positive actions are observed?
4. Attack It – Employees will fall short of meeting expectations, if not outright challenge expectations. To create the desired culture, leaders must take on the bad stuff and clearly communicate expectations that comprise the culture.
5. Repeat It – Creating an organization culture is not a one-time project. Rather, it is an ongoing process of managing expectations and leading employees.
Your organization’s culture is a in building customer relationships, improving employee retention, and the firm’s overall success. For me, the most powerful message of LoCurto’s presentation came in his discussion of “Force It.” He said “you are either going to force culture or other people will force it for you.” Who is driving the culture bus in your organization? Is it the people with the map that understand where you are going, or is it other people who would rather take side trips than get to the intended destination?