Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Tradition Transformation In Enterprise – eLearning Business

What do you want in your culture?

Setting the pandemic aside, you will remember a time when you felt absolutely great to be with people. Take a short break and remember this positive experience – at work, at a family reunion, or at a local coffee shop. What words describe this memorable time? What did you feel You may have found joy, excitement, or comfort in being with others. What did others say or not say, do or not do, that made you feel this way? Nice memories can arise from the visit of an aunt, an uncle or a friend who welcomed you with warmth and hugs. Perhaps you felt cared for and listened to and chatted about your favorite foods they selected and prepared for you. The bottom line is, for whatever reason, you felt fine.

When I think of a special time in the workplace, the earliest I remember from the first chapter of my career when I felt great working with a team that was formed shortly after two financial institutions merged. We were a mixed group with some young and new, some experienced, some from “our” bank and others from “other” financial institutions.

We referred to our early days together as a time of “the back door being open,” a time of lost customers and significant business volume. Customers of the smaller financial institution feared a takeover by a large bank and took their deposits, investments and mortgages elsewhere. It could have been described as a stressful period when some of my colleagues were worried about keeping their jobs. But we had a great team and leadership, and we overcame those difficulties by successfully bringing together the two different cultures, one described as very sales-oriented and the other as very service-oriented.

The results were amazing. At the end of my two years with this team, our performance rose from last in the region to number one in terms of business volume growth and customer satisfaction survey results! I remember my time with this team as a time of coming together, the humble motivation of leadership, and the fact that we are all proud of what we have achieved.

It was a time of great effort and success, pride, fun, friendship and times of celebration. During this time we have all grown professionally and personally and have developed further. I am so happy and grateful for this experience that changed the course of my life. It led me to a Masters Degree in Human Systems Intervention because I wanted to understand what we did right and share it with others. My professional career has since focused on organizational and cultural transformations. I love what I do and I am so grateful.

I’m sure you can also think of moments in the workplace when you weren’t feeling too good. Perhaps there was a time when you shuddered at the thought of waking up for another day of work and doing activities that were not appreciated or seemed meaningless, or you were micromanaged, or you had a “bad boss.” You and others on the team weren’t feeling well. Who looks forward to another day when the expected results are not achieved and no one listens to your ideas and rejects all your suggestions to do things differently? Sure you showed up, but you couldn’t give it your all. Perhaps you have decided to idle for a while and not rock the boat while also wondering if you should leave this place of work.

What is culture and why is it important?

Culture shapes your great and less great experiences with people. This creates a feeling of being welcomed by your family or a friend, or a feeling of being valued by your co-workers or having a great customer experience at a place of business. You carry your own culture which is the culmination of your character traits expressed through actions, norms, rituals, words, tone and body language.

More than ever, companies need to do their best to survive and thrive. How? Through culture transformation. Culture is your differentiator. It sets your company apart from other companies – but be careful – for better or for worse! If you want (and of course) to get amazing results, your business needs to have amazing properties that will enable you to get there. With a disgruntled workforce or a dysfunctional workplace and culture, you cannot excel or win industry awards.

Culture is not a separate strategic priority or simply a list of values. It’s how and why people and companies do what they do, how a company does business. When your culture is healthy, it is an integral part of business success and brings life to the successful implementation of your strategic priorities and business goals. This enables you to attract and retain the best talent. It will drive the way you innovate and develop new products. It determines how your employees will be treated and felt (motivated, inspired, or angry) and how your customers will be served.

If you believe your culture could be better, so it can be. It will take some effort, but the return on investment in culture is there. Put simply, smart investments in your company’s cultural change will produce positive results. It is evident that a healthy culture promotes higher levels of employee engagement and wellbeing, lower turnover, better business performance, higher profitability, higher customer loyalty, and higher earnings per share.

There are other ripple effects of healthy culture as well. For example, think about how you feel when, after a day of working with people you feel good with, you go home to your family and friends and enjoy working with them (or, on the contrary). Healthy cultures are good for business, good for life, and make a difference.

Can you change your corporate culture? And if so, how?

Cultural transformation is an opportunity and a responsibility. To whom much is given, much is needed. If you are a manager, you as a management team have the opportunity (and great responsibility) to individually and collectively create the best environment for your employees. Whether you think this is part of your job description or not, leaders play an important role in creating and maintaining a culture. We can all think of leaders of a country, company, team, or family who have greatly influenced people and led them in a direction, good or bad, and what impact they had.

Creating a healthy culture requires role modeling and the necessary change. This means executives must put themselves at the service to create a better place to work for a sustainable company. This includes ceasing behaviors that contribute to a dysfunctional workplace and developing new behaviors and structures that support a better and healthier environment and culture.

The cultural transformation takes a multidisciplinary approach. Evidence-based strategies are developed using culture and leadership assessment data. Organizational and leadership alignment, strategic planning, human resources, and talent management enable people to work effectively towards the same direction and purpose. Systems thinking, organizational design and process improvement ensure that the right structures are in place. Behavioral science, psychology and adult education all inform activities related to learning and development, coaching and communication for the development and optimal performance of people.

Cultural transformation is primarily intentional. It starts with a commitment to a healthier culture and work environment. Cultural transformation materializes with sustained commitment to persevere. It requires targeted assessment, analysis, planning, intervention and maintenance of activities. Don’t let this discourage you.

Just like doctors who dedicate their lives to medicine, there are people who have focused their lives on helping leaders, teams, and companies improve their culture. I am one of those die-hard practitioners! And I’m part of a tribe of like-minded and capable people who do the same thing, the Thrive by SweetRush team. We are very passionate about what we do and we know it works.

The good news is that you can change and improve your company culture. Now, more than ever, the time has come to create better jobs and transform your culture for the benefit of your employees and your company. Commit, plan and act on purpose. My sincere hope is that together we can make the world a better place – one interaction, one team, one company at a time. Imagine! If you want to talk about your business and culture, we’d love to hear from you, be your sounding board, and discuss the options.

eBook Publication: SweetRush


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