Get Traction on Your Desired Culture

iStock_000005596895XSmallSpring storms are a “feature” of mountain living, especially here in the Front Range of Colorado. This year is no exception. The state needs the moisture but local residents (including me) are “done” with the snow here in late April.

I’ve enjoyed a couple of harrowing rides down our steep paved driveway these past few weeks. My 4WD truck handles ice and packed snow well, but it really struggles with wet, soft snow.

There is nothing like the adrenalin rush of having no traction, sliding 200 yards out of control towards an 8′ drop off.

With the last storm, I simply gave up. I parked my truck overnight at the top of our driveway next to my delightful neighbor’s shed (who was happy to give me permission for the spot).

Three “what’s” can shed light on this situation. What I want is my tires to firmly grip the road in all conditions. What I’m experiencing is a lack of desired traction. What I’m doing is living with the gap, short of the traction I covet.

The solution to this slick issue is entirely within my control. My truck’s tires don’t have the grip they had when new, so I could buy a new set of tires. Short of that, I could actually take out the z-chains I bought two years ago and learn how to put them on my tires.

Is your company getting traction on the high performance, values-aligned culture it desires?

Leaders can use my three “what’s” to examine the effectiveness of their organization’s culture and move it slowly but surely towards the desired state.

First, define what you want. Describe your organization’s purpose, it’s reason for being. Then refine performance expectations to ensure goals align to the purpose. Next outline what a “great corporate citizen” looks, acts, and sounds like by defining values in behavioral terms. Next describe the strategy that will best serve both employees and customers.

Second, examine what you’re experiencing. To what extent do leaders and staff align plans, decisions, and actions to your newly defined (or refined) purpose, strategy, goals, and values? It is likely you have some leaders, players, or departments who behave exactly as you desire. And it is likely that most leaders, players, or departments don’t consistently demonstrate desired behaviors. This “what” outlines the gaps you face.

Third, decide what you will do to close gaps. There will be a number of different avenues available. Find proven paths and follow those. Blaze a trail or two if something different is required. Map out your plan to address gaps.

Fourth, do it. Deciding and doing are two very different things. Deciding is passive. Doing is active. Do the doing!

For my part, I’ve just found a video online that shows me how to install the z-chains on my truck. I’ve also priced new tires and found a local installer who has them in stock. One way or another, tire traction will no longer be an issue for me.

Contribute your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below. How well do you, personally, address the gaps you face in life and work? How well does your organization address it’s gaps?

What is it like to live in your organization’s culture? Share your experiences in my fast & free Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are described on my blog site’s research page.

This research can help you refine your organization’s corporate culture. Contact me to discuss conducting the Performance-Values Assessment in your company.

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