It is the end of the fiscal year, again.
Here’s a gift you can give yourself right now:
Stop what you’re doing.
Take your time to pause and breathe, and acknowledge yourself and your team.
You did an excellent job this year. Acknowledge yourself for everything you have done and achieved. Think about the highlights and moments you are grateful for.
Think about everything you did well and think about what part of your business didn’t get enough of your attention this year.
When I ask my clients and potential customers which part of their organisation didn’t get enough attention they usually answer “people” or “people development”
When I share with them the fact that people’s development and focus on their wellbeing and growth has a direct influence on culture, engagement and results they realise “people” shouldn’t be neglected. Business is driven by people and with people, your customers and your employees. The behaviour of people and their state of mind is the most important part of your business.
The great news is, it isn’t too late to do something. We still have one month to go to help our people grow, thrive and upskill in this financial year.
If you are a leader or emerging leader, I am sure, you already know that a great culture, development of people skills and organisational wellbeing has a direct impact on revenue and KPIs. According to Harvard research, the development of soft skills and focusing on people in an organisation can grow your revenue by 130%. This is probably the smallest number you can find in all the research done by various organisations like Deloitte and various Universities in Australia.
But, what we have seen is that the development of these skills, despite their utility, is still the most neglected department in 90% of organisations. Smart and innovative organisations have paid attention to the value these skills have, they have worked by using these skills to create an amazing work culture and environment for their employees. Those organisations didn’t have any trouble getting their employees back after the Covid crisis.
Seventy-two out of one hundred organisations said that their employees don’t want to come back to their offices. The reasons behind this are various but the majority of the answers are directly related to the workplace culture (their colleagues) and their well-being.
I would love to plug in my own story from my first coaching job for a US corporation over 10 years ago. I spent 75% of my time on the road, I travelled to see my teams all over the world and I was usually in three or four countries a week. I loved seeing my team and we really enjoyed our time together. It took us almost 12 months to create an unshakable friendly, respectful, supportive and happy team culture. We loved to work together, we were helping each other and if someone needed us more often we did not get annoyed, we brainstormed how to best help that person. We respected everyone in the team and we were all from different backgrounds, religions and countries. This all was shown in our award-winning customer service where we achieved 98% customer satisfaction on each tour.
What was really annoying and made me leave, what was probably my best job, was the time in the office with the team that I didn’t have a direct impact on. The office environment was toxic, ikki and when you came to work on your desk you had people breathing down your neck looking for any excuse to stab you in the back. I never understood why but after a long time I realised it was the office leader and her followers. I was supposed to spend 25% of my time in this office, I tried to squeeze it into 15% max and even this time felt like torture. I became sick and I couldn’t spend a minute in this environment. I left, and a lot of great employees left after me. Now, when you think your employees are not that great because they don’t want to come back to the office, ask yourself what is the real reason they are not feeling inspired to get back. If you have people leaving or thinking about leaving, it is usually because of toxic people or culture. People don’t leave the job they leave the people.
How can you identify your team culture?
Before you use a checklist to determine whether or not your team has a bad culture, speak with your team. If you believe your team culture is lacking, or poor, you can’t always assume that your team will provide you with accurate answers. They may only be providing answers they believe you will approve of. When you find yourself in this situation, tools such as anonymous surveys or ask external leadership and culture coaches to come to assess your team culture. We do assessments with team members, we don’t assume. We believe people communicate the truth.
It is very easy to think everything is ok because you as a leader feel fine at work and your employees purport that everything is running well. There can be something that is going on you may not see. We call these unwritten rules, rules and attitudes that are not shown to you while you are at work.
As a leader, you may see the quality of your culture in results and performance. If your client retention is not improving, if your employee retention is not improving, your sales are stagnating or your revenue or profits are not getting better; these are all signs that your culture requires a remedy.
If you are a leader more in tune with recognising people’s strengths, weaknesses and behaviours or thinking patterns that impact their performance at work; you may notice some signs or daily behaviours that intimate your work culture may be in need of repair. Your employees may not be or will be less:
- interested in any social team/organisational events,
- coming to you with ideas and better solutions or systems,
Or they may:
- Look tired or exhausted
- Complain and express frustration
- Judge and compare themselves to their colleagues
- Create small groups within the team
- Talk behind each other’s back
If there is no interest and enthusiasm in the work environment it is time to make some changes. If you feel like your team of lawyers or accountants don’t want to do any business development, networking or prospecting because they think it’s not their job, you have a culture problem without question. If you ever hear anyone say “it is not my job”, you have a cultural problem.
If there is no initiative and proactivity it’s time to step in as soon as you can. Don’t waste a day, because the more you wait the more ingrained the toxic culture becomes and it is harder to remove.
Start opening new discussions and new topics with your team. Learn how to ask the right questions and initiate open conversations and discussions about the team’s mission and purpose.
Start talking to your team and, more importantly, start listening to them.
We are helping leaders and emerging leaders not only learn the importance of culture and behaviours but also learn where to start, what to look and listen for and how to integrate effective leadership tools.
If you would like to learn more, get our free culture assessment workshop or invest before the end of the year, contact us for more information about our leadership program at email@example.com