A TOP PRIORITY — AND CHALLENGE —FOR LEADERS
From our experience, we have found that leaders across the globe agree that engaging their talent is their top priority. They know the dramatic difference that a team like Western Digital can make. They know that the ultimate competitive advantage belongs to organizations that can get the best contribution possible from the best people they can find. It means inspiring and engaging people so they choose to bring their best consistently.
So, if so many leaders are aware of opportunity associated with having a winning culture, why is there no “outbreak” of great cultures? Every team, every organization has a culture. Very few have a winning culture. In fact, the majority of working people self-report that they are unengaged or actively disengaged from the work. Leaders have failed to inspire the vast majority of their workforce, thus losing what tens of millions of people could contribute.
AN EPIDEMIC OF DISENGAGEMENT
One of the main causes for such widespread disengagement is that too many business leaders simply don’t know how to engage their people. As a client of ours told us, “When I graduated from law school, I came out with the very best academic, analytical, research, and legal tools. But what I was not trained on, and what I was not prepared for on day one, was how to coach and engage people. Everything I do has to be done with other people. Everything depends on what I was never taught to do.”
At FranklinCovey we know culture makes all the difference, yet too many organizations and leaders leave building their culture to chance. We’re reminded of the quote by acclaimed management expert Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, and it’s only when you fully understand what this means that you’ll lead a successful company.”
BUILDING A WINNING CULTURE —DELIBERATELY
Great cultures — the kind that become a competitive advantage — don’t just happen. They are a deliberate creation. They require a framework for implementing a common language and approach. They require deep personal effectiveness in every role. They require leadership at every level, with clarity around the organization’s key goals and top priorities, and a process for executing these priorities. They require trust and loyalty among (and beyond) the team.
(Offset like a quote: According to the survey on global CEO performance by Stanford University, engaging people is rated the “to weakness” of CEOs.)
A leader’s main job is to build that kind of culture. As author Ram Charan said, “The culture of any organization is simply the collective behavior of its leaders. If you want to change your culture, change the collective behavior of your leaders.”
The teams I’ve written about, representing UNC women’s soccer and those at Western Digital have demonstrated the remarkable results that come from establishing a deliberate winning culture. Creating a culture and a framework where employees thrive, contribute, and perform is within every leader’s reach.
“The only sustainable competitive advantage that will long endure is the core competency of a high trust, principle-centered organizational culture of committed people aligned to a common vision. Your competitors will copy your marketing, your product, your systems, your structure, your strategy, but they cannot duplicate the unique advantage of the trust, esprit de corps, and performance of your people.” – Dr. Stephen R. Covey
“A culture can be built consciously or evolve inadvertently.” – Clayton Christensen