Recently I came across an article by Dan Pontefract entitled If Culture Comes First, Performance will Follow, in which he bemoans the fact that many executives still believe the best way to manage people is to monitor their performance, and if they fail to live up to expectations, sever the relationship.
At SADIA we are always asking the question, is this executive someone we can work with, and who will work with us? We still adhere to the view that what comes out of the executive suite sets the tone throughout the organization, and if that vibe is negative, the organization has little chance of succeeding in the long run.
As Dan Fink outlined in his excellent TED talk, for employees to succeed, they need three things:
- A clear understanding of roles and responsibilities
- The proper tools to do the job
- Autonomy to demonstrate their skills and competence
Two other areas need to be added to the mix: embedded values and operational controls.
Embedded values are developed by taking a broad issue e.g. how well do the goals of the individual employee align with those of the organization? and drilling down into the organizational culture to determine how that particular issue plays out in the workplace. For example, in a unionized environment, how well does behaviour of union executives mesh with corporate goals? The embedded values that end up being identified epitomize the role culture plays in moulding expectations, which itself is directly related to performance.
Operational Controls are made up of four elements:
- The numbers that matter, and dictate what you concentrate on improving every day
- The open attitude in the workplace that you continuously foster and improve
- The key individuals you support that make the organization what it is
- The absolute necessity to stay positive regardless of the challenges and hurdles
Convincing employees your organization has something worthwhile that deserves their attention and eventual engagement is a difficult assignment. Good luck!