Is This Culture Stuff Hokey?

“Are my employees going to roll their eyes or think this stuff is hokey?”  That’s one of the most common questions we hear and one of the most frequent concerns CEOs have prior to rolling out a set of Fundamentals.  I’ll use this blog post to take a closer look at that concern.

A little background is in order here.  As some readers may know, we define a company’s culture in terms of a set of behaviors that we call “Fundamentals.”  These Fundamentals get imbedded by practicing them over and over again through weekly rituals.  The “rollout” process is a 3-hour interactive, highly engaging activity that introduces employees to the Fundamentals Process for the first time.  We often think of it as “setting the table” for the success of the program.

How do employees respond?

OK, back to the original question.  How do employees respond to the rollout?  With a remarkable degree of consistency, we see employees of all types totally embrace the process.  They have meaningful conversations, and show a level of engagement that virtually always surprises the leadership team.  The expected cynicism is almost non-existent and many will say it’s the best company meeting they’ve ever participated in.  And we’ve done this with white collar and blue collar workers in industries that range from law firms and engineering firms to heavy construction, manufacturing, industrial mining, technology, healthcare, and financial services among others.

Three reasons

So why aren’t employees more cynical, as one might expect?  I think there are three reasons:

  1. The Fundamentals describe behaviors nearly every person would agree with.  Who would argue that we shouldn’t have to honor our commitments or that we need more blame around here or that we shouldn’t listen more generously?
  2. The process itself is designed to get everyone engaged, but in a way that’s not intimidating, especially for those who aren’t used to or comfortable with talking in a group setting.  The activities are thought-provoking and are fun.  Nearly everyone learns a lot and laughs a lot.
  3. It’s been my experience that most people really do want to work in a place where these kinds of things matter.  They’ve become cynical because in their past experiences values and principles were either not talked about, or worse, were talked about and not practiced.  But they do want it.
Ultimately, practicing Fundamentals is in employees’ own self-interest.  It creates a work environment that’s simply more rewarding, more productive, and more fun.  Who wouldn’t want that?

If you’d like to learn more about how to get your workforce engaged in creating a high performing culture, just give us a call or shoot us an email.

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