What makes a great workplace culture? Employee survey after employee survey demonstrates that most people want to work in an environment where their work is interesting and challenging, their performance is recognized, their input is valued, and time is taken to celebrate achievements and just have fun. Many business owners and leaders would like create such an environment because they know the positive impact it could have on employee satisfaction, motivation and productivity.
The key to creating this desired workplace culture involves effective leadership. A good starting point is the development of a set of business core values. Core values will provide the framework for how you set goals, employ your workforce, engage customers, develop your products and serve your community.
Your values may relate to performance standards, customer service, interpersonal relations or a host of other factors that have shared meaning within your company. These values may currently be ‘unwritten rules for doing things’ that reflect expectations of management. Attempts to change inappropriate workplace behavior can be changed in the short term by introducing top-down policies and procedures. But making positive changes in employee attitude and workplace culture are longer term propositions that require a keen understanding of key change concepts.
My favorite concept with respect to change is called The Formula for Change (or Change Potential). The formula is C = D x V x P, where C = Change, D = Dissatisfaction, V = Vision and P = Plan. In simple terms, your chance of achieving real change is directly related to the amount of Dissatisfaction (desire to change) of the current circumstances, the clarity of your Vision for the future and the extent to which it is shared, and the Plan that you have developed to bring about the change.
We have observed many failed attempts at workplace change because one or more of the critical elements of the formula has not been properly addressed. More often than not, leaders have addressed the vision and developed a plan, because both are touted by business consultants and the topic of choice at many business seminars. And yet the results are often more of the same. Why does this happen? The culprit in this case is a low level of dissatisfaction – and often it exists at the very top of the organization. The low dissatisfaction is often exhibited in poor follow through on agreed actions, failure to hold others accountable for completing agreed-to tasks and an inability to get your plans implemented.
If you’re struggling with change in your organization, we suggest that you take time to review the key elements of the Formula for Change. Can you identify the element that is thwarting your change efforts?