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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Leadership And Culture Building

I had the privilege to talk about and facilitate organizational alignment workshops in Manila and other parts of the Philippines  repeatedly these past few days and have two more sessions with two different companies in the coming days.  The experience helped me take another look at how much alignment work we are doing at ExeQServe for our own company.

One of ExeQserve’s long time traditions is our lunch and learn sessions.  In these brown bag events, we ask team members to deliver presentations talking about specific ExeQserve Core Values.  In these same events, team members nominate a teammate to be the month’s value awardee.  In the nomination form, they write the name of the employee and specific critical incidents when the employee demonstrated a behavior that is aligned with the value.  During the awarding, we read all the testimonials from team members for the winner and for the runners up.  At the time I felt that through the exercise, we were able to clarify what those values mean and that we are able to reinforce the kind of culture we want to build.  We took pride in our ability to align with our core values.

I have a young team and one of our core values is creativity and resourcefulness, so when they said they want to change things about our lunch and learn events, I let them.  I was wrong. They decided to replace Values Award with Employee of the Month Award. I was more concerned about encouraging them to experiment than to protect the culture and values I wanted to cultivate, so I allowed it to happen. Little by little, the monthly awards become less and less meaningful because we gave them to people who either through hard work or luck produced the numbers that make them “employee of the month” rather than decisions, actions and behaviors that are consistent with our core values.  After a while, we went on autopilot until such time that we felt, the lunch learn programs were forced and the rewards, meaningless. We stopped.  I felt that we lost our identity.

This year, we moved to a new office.  We have a smaller but more focused team. We are also now, more than ever serious about the culture we want to Build. One of the lessons I learned from my experience as a leader and as a consultant is that leaders are pivotal to culture building. What they do and don’t do dictates the culture of the organization. I have decided to  retake the responsibility of reshaping back ExeQserve’s organizational culture. This does not mean I won’t take new suggestions and just take matters into my own hand, but I will be more discriminating of things I will allow so we can maintain alignment.  Here are some of the things my team agree to do starting this month:
  • ·         Declare value of the month complete with internal campaigns and marketing
  • ·         Bring the values presentation back to our team lunches
  • ·         Bring the values award back
  • ·         Assign a person to be values campaigner of the month. This employee will come up with all sorts of ideas like bulletin boards, games, quotes, etc to remind us to individually align with our values.

I have always said in my visioning workshops that if all you do every day is align with your mission, vision and values,  you should be fine. It’s time to put my money back where my mouth is. I hope to see the results of this in the coming months. You can expect me to write about it again.

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