BUILDING a high-performance culture is like setting the rules of a game, says Mark Miller in Culture Rules: The Leader’s Guide to Creating the Ultimate Competitive Advantage. If you don’t “play” the organization will make up their own rules which can and will have unintended consequences.
Culture is “a place, physical or virtual, where you set the parameters in which people work. A place where the organization established the rules of conduct and its values, how the game will be played, the options and variables to play, the desired activities and boundaries that govern the game, and more.”
In the game of Culture, Miller offers three rules but says there are infinite moves you can make. There are an infinite number of ways to get it done when we think about how we want to shape and build the culture of our organization. You will find many examples others have used in building their culture.
Rule #1: Aspire
To aspire, you need to create more than a catchy statement. You need a clear purpose. Why does your organization exist? What do you aspire to? What do you value? You must know exactly what you are trying to create. When there is a gap between where you are and where you aspire to be, closing the gap moves you forward.
Leaders must constantly share, reinforce, and celebrate their values, as well as challenge those who fail to uphold them. Leaders determine the value and impact of core values in an organization.
Rule #2: Amplify
Once you have clarity on your aspirations, you amplify them by continuously reinforcing them. “A message not heard consistently is a message without impact.”
It’s important to recognize the power of mundane moments, the seemingly trivial actions, and the ordinary encounters. These mark our leadership. These moments happen all day, every day. Without thoughtful actions on our part, these opportunities will be wasted, missed, or worse. If we respond in a fashion contrary to our Aspiration, we can unwittingly undermine our efforts to create the culture we’ve been dreaming of.
Rule #3: Adapt
Success today is no guarantee of success tomorrow. The world changes, so there must be an ongoing effort to measure and improve the culture. “When leaders are willing to Adapt, not react, to a changing world, they can build or rebuild a High Performance Culture.”
Adapting your culture requires continuous listening, learning, and changing.
Miller reminds us that the “greatest obstacle to creating a High Performance Culture is a lack of focused attention.” Without the attention, a culture will degrade and succumb to indifference, paranoia, mistrust, counter cultures, and self-deception, to name a few.
If people came to your organization because of what they could do and then stayed because of who they could become, I think you would be well on your way to creating your own High Performance Culture—a place known for its unity; life-giving, sold-enriching work; and elite levels of performance.
Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for additional leadership and personal development ideas.