“And they’re off!” Famous words that begin any race. As a leader, you’re now officially off to the races to meet or exceed your 2015 goals and achieve your overall strategic plan. And, if you’re like most successful leaders, you’ve already been thinking about 2015 business goals – what your organization needs to achieve to stay competitive. But have you ever really consider HOW your organization meets those goals? I mean have you ever really considered what the key to your success really is?

Yes, product, service, quality and safety are all important components, but the game changer is your people. So, make 2015 the year you set ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE (OC) goals; after all, it’s your people who make achieving all your other goals possible. Your employees literally are they key to your success as an organization, yet many leaders never really consider employees in their goal setting – other than to give them goals to be achieved.

4 Steps to Making it Happen

  1. It starts with YOU! – Consider some personal goals related to how you lead. Focus on the one leadership trait or habit where a gap exists between what you say is important (your organizational values) and how you or your organization actually acts – how you routinely “live” your values (your philosophies).
  2. Conduct an OC Assessment – If you’re not sure if your behavior matches your espoused values, make it a goal to find out by conducting an OC Assessment. Then really accept what you find, and develop and implement action plans to bring the two together. Remember the three A’s – AWARENESS, ACCEPTANCE, ACTION.
  3. What Gets Measured – Gets DONE! – Measure your OC progress in the smallest available chunks. If you are measuring culture at the organizational level, ask for and provide data at the level of individual teams. Treat your culture initiatives with the same rigor as any other business goals. Set deadlines, milestones, and reporting requirements. The rigor of holding yourself and others accountable forces you to make your OC a tangible business asset.
  4. Cascade the goals – Especially your personal values. Cascading the OC goals makes OC real for the entire organization and ups the stakes (it solidifies the expectation that OC is important and everyone is expected to uphold it). When I tell people one of my values is to improve employee involvement and I have a personal goals to become a better listener, and ask them to bring to my attention when they feel I am not living up to that personal goal, they become engaged in improving employee involvement rather than critics and cynics.

Now, you’re off to the races!

– Cindy

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