As some of our readers may know, we recommend doing annual surveys to assess how well you’re living to your stated culture from the perspective of your employees, your customers, and your suppliers. It’s an important way of staying accountable to what you say is important. At the end of the survey we usually have an open-ended question where respondents can provide any comments or feedback they’d like to offer. There are two responses I often see from employees that I’d like to share (and respond to) here.
It’s not automatic
The first response we sometimes see usually looks something like this:
“We shouldn’t need to have a program like this.
Acting like these Fundamentals should just be automatic
and doesn’t need to be talked about.”
I certainly don’t disagree that these behaviors should be automatic, but they simply aren’t. We don’t always do the right thing and we don’t always respond quickly and we often get stuck in the blame game and we often avoid difficult conversations and we don’t always pay attention to the details and on and on. Sometimes it’s because we’ve built bad habits over the years, but often it’s just that the stresses and challenges of meeting day-to-day demands make it difficult for us to always be at our best. And that’s the very reason it’s so important to constantly be reminded of the behaviors we aspire to. The more frequently we think about them and talk about them, the more likely we begin to behave that way automatically, especially in times of stress.
Never stop practicing
The second comment we sometimes see looks like this:
“We’ve been practicing these Fundamentals for a year
now. We all understand them pretty well, so I don’t
see why we have to keep doing this.”
For me, this is like Tiger Woods, in his prime, deciding he no longer needed to practice putting, or Michael Jordan deciding he no longer needed to practice shooting free throws or a concert pianist deciding she no longer needed to practice scales. When we’re trying to cultivate lifelong habits, we never stop practicing. There are no shortcuts. In fact, it’s the continuous practice that’s so essential to ingraining the behaviors (Fundamentals) we want.
And that’s really what separates the Fundamentals System™ from the typical “flavor of the month” initiatives on which we’ve all wasted our time and money. If we want to have real and lasting impact, we have to continue to practice – forever. And the only way we’ll keep practicing forever is when we create the rituals that are the cornerstone of the system.
Here’s the bottom line: Your culture is best defined by the daily behaviors of your people. If you want your people to consistently behave in a specific way, you have to teach and practice those behaviors over and over and over again. The Fundamentals System simply provides the structure and the methodology to make this happen.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can practice with greater consistency than ever before, give us a call shoot us an email, or join us at Culture Summit 2017. We’re here to help.