BEMPLOYING a high-performance culture is like making the rules of a game, says Mark Miller of Cultural Rules: The Leader’s Guide to Creating Total Competitive Advantage. If you don’t “play” the organization will make 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 establishes its rules of conduct and its values, how the game is played, the options and changes to play, the desired activities and boundaries that govern the game, and much more.”
In the game of cultureMiller offered three rules but said that there is unlimited moves you can. There are an infinite number of ways to do this if we think about how we want to shape and build the culture of our organization. You can see many examples that others use to build their culture.
Rule #1: Desire
To be desired, you need to make more than an attractive statement. You need a clear purpose. Why does your organization exist? What are you dreaming of? What are you worth? You must know what you are trying to do. If there is a gap between where you are and where you want 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 an organization’s core values.
Rule #2: Amplify
Once you have clarity on your dreams, you grow them by continuously reinforcing them. “A message that is not heard often is a message that has no effect.”
It’s important to recognize the power of mundane moments, seemingly insignificant actions, and ordinary encounters. This marks our leadership. These moments happen all day, every day. Without conscious actions on our part, these opportunities will be wasted, forgotten, or worse. If we respond in a way that is contrary to our Aspiration, we may inadvertently undermine our efforts to create the culture we dream of.
Rule #3: Adapt
Success today does not guarantee success tomorrow. The world is changing, so there must be a continuous effort to measure and improve culture. “When leaders are willing to adapt, not react, to a changing world, they can build or rebuild a High Performance Culture.”
Adapting to your culture requires continuous listening, learning, and innovation.
Miller reminds us that the “biggest obstacle to creating a High Performance Culture is a lack of focused attention.” Without attention, a culture will deteriorate and lead to apathy, paranoia, mistrust, counterculture, and self-delusion, to name a few.
If people come to your organization because of what they can do and then stay because of who they can be, I think you’re well on your way to creating your own High Performance Culture—a place known for its unity; life-giving, selling work; and elite level of performance.
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