As the economy comes back online and employees start to come into work vs working virtually and customers begin buying again, all seems great, right? Well in conversations with my clients and other area businesses, there’s lots of good news, and also new challenges. The “new normal” is not the same as the “old normal”, and it definitely won’t revert back to “how it used to be” this year, if ever.
What’s different is the stressors on your lives, your team’s lives, and your client’s lives. There is still so much unknown, so much yet to be figured out for normal to actually become normal again. In the workplace, these stressors come out in a number of ways – showing up late for work, more frequent absenteeism, more frequent distractions and disruptions – the little things start becoming big things. Much of this can be contributed to all of the added stress our society is experiencing, sort of a collective PTSD.
Businesses that have teams thriving right now are the businesses that have a strong Vision, Mission, and Culture, and they are talking about them and living them on a daily basis. What are you doing to maintain and build your culture? Here are a few recommendations that our clients are using with great results.
Talking about the Vision, Mission and Culture. When was the last time you talked to your entire company about your Vision and Mission? Can you send it out in an email to the team revisiting them, and maybe explaining what they mean in the context of the situation we are all in? Can you hold a team meeting – a 20-30 minute company huddle (virtually and/or in person) to let them see and hear you talk about it and answer any questions? Do you have a Core Value of the week that you share? Does everyone understand how all of these fit into their daily routines? Again, the key is to start (re-start) the conversation about these and never let the conversation stop.
Use your Core Values to troubleshoot behaviors in the workplace. A great way to correct behaviors AND teach your Culture/Core Values is to use them in your problem solving processes. If a delivery is late or poor quality, ask the team to examine how they failed to deliver the Mission for that client. Which Core Values did we not live up to for this customer? For internal team issues – there may be more than usual due to the heightened stress in the world – ask about how negative behaviors/actions fit with the Mission and Values. I like to use the phrase “Help me understand how <insert behavior> fits in with our Core Value of <x>”.
My last idea, and I can’t believe I am actually typing this, but it is necessary right now – have more meetings! These meetings need to have a specific purpose and agenda to be effective, but people need more connection to their teams and their work. The primary focus should be on the critical few goals and then the concerns/challenges the team is fighting to get there. My typical agenda starts with Biggest Wins since the last meeting – have them elaborate on what made it happen, who got involved and helped. Other agenda items can be #1 team challenge, progress against metrics, and upcoming events/projects that the team should be aware of. The key is to help them recognize their successes and focus on the #1 improvement project. Give them positive, forward-thinking thoughts to focus on to take their minds away from the negative noise/stress in the world.
If you need help taking a fresh look at your business’s culture, let our team help you. You can schedule your FREE 30 Minute Culture Strategy Session now. One of our coaches will walk you through the process of creating your plan.
Author: Mark Mcnulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY