Is Your Culture Worth Your Time?

By Rob Wolff, Senior Consultant

I recently spent the better part of two and a half weeks rolling out HPC’s Fundamentals System with the CEO of an organization with over 350 employees, with locations in four cities and two countries. As those who have worked with us know, these rollout meetings are an essential, yet fun introduction to concepts and tenets of an intentional culture.  Each meeting is three hours long, but they feel much shorter due to the level of engagement and participation in each and every meeting.

We all have competing demands

If asked, I’m not sure how many CEOs would agree to spending nearly three consecutive weeks traveling to and meeting with her/his employees. Schedules are busy, demands are high, investors are demanding… That’s all true, yet this particular CEO spent 33 hours in 11 meetings reviewing the same material with all of his employees, making sure to spend individual time with as many as possible throughout.  That seems like a lot of time, particularly when it’s continuous, yet it’s less than 5% of the year’s standard work time – much less if you factor in the actual number of nights and weekends that a CEO invests.

Is it worth the effort?   Could someone else have handled that responsibility so that his efforts could have been spent on strategic issues and opportunities?  There are enormously talented and capable HR professionals, and aren’t they expert at working with people?  Most organizations have qualified and experienced management teams who could surely jump in – they work with these folks every day.

Building the right foundation

The exercise that we went through was really laying the foundation for how every employee should work with teammates, clients, and even vendors and suppliers.  We were taking and investing the time to ensure that every single person in the organization knew exactly what was expected of them and what they could expect from others.

What sort of message do you think was sent to the employees of this organization when they saw that this was important enough for the CEO to come spend time with all of them?  I can assure you that they appreciated the time and attention, and they certainly recognized that this newly defined culture was important and not simply a flavor of the month.  At the same time, there was no question in the CEOs mind whether everyone understood the path that they were moving forward on.

When you define your culture to a very detailed level and know that what you’ve defined will make you more successful and your employees happier and more engaged, then yes, it’s absolutely worth your time. Remember that your culture affects everything that gets done (or not done) in your business, and every person inside your organization as well as every person touched by your organization.  Framed that way, perhaps the question should be what are you spending your time on that’s more important than your company’s culture?

If you’d like to learn more about how to bring more clarity and commitment to your culture, just give us a call or shoot us an email, or consider joining us and other leaders for Culture Summit 2017.

 

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