Ping pong tables, funky furniture and advanced ways to share work and communicate, may be seen as indicators of an innovative workplace and a high-performance culture. However, the ‘window dressing’ often doesn’t deliver the desired results.
Perks and environment don’t drive performance – they support it. It is delivered through behaviours and relationships. People who are crystal clear on what they need to deliver for their organisation and how they deliver it to their customers. People who understand how to continuously improve – together.
Business leaders often focus upon structure, process, environment, sexy marketing. New systems are implemented, processes redefined. A ‘ra ra’ launch for the new product or branding to get people excited – and they are – in that moment.
When the shiny newness wears off people fall back into the status quo – where it feels comfortable and familiar. Back into their ‘to do’ lists and work silos – particularly if there is a heavy workload. There isn’t time to consider the bigger picture, to worry about whether their outputs are aligned with those of their colleagues. With the best of intentions, they believe that as long as they do a good job, the customer will be happy.
Business leaders become frustrated, because despite their investment, the front-line people who can make a difference are not delivering their highest performance levels. Continuous improvement is seen as a project, not a day to day norm.
The counter-intuitive solution to continually engaging people with the organisational strategy, with continually finding ways to be better, to look outside of the ‘to do’ list and day to day tasks is to STOP!
- To facilitate conversations which create openness, constructive review, understanding of others challenges
- To build and endorse collaborative behaviours
- To create solutions together, which everyone buys into
- To remind of the bigger picture the silo of their work hangs upon
- To make the links between their list of tasks and the purpose of why they are doing it.
This is not internal comms, an update, or a team build.
It’s about considering simple, key questions on a regular basis, which will facilitate the above, such as:
- What’s going well, what’s not going so well and what could we be doing differently?
- Are we keeping our promises to our customers?
- Where are we dropping the ball and why?
- Do our ‘sales pitch’ promises match what we deliver further into the relationship?
- What projects, what specific tasks, would require collaboration to deliver the best results? (Carlos Valdes-Dapena used this question when improving collaborative working at Mars)
Culture is something that needs to become part of the material of a team – the invisible ingredients that everyone consumes without realising, but getting there and keeping it alive needs focus, attention, time and space. Time to STOP!
An experienced facilitator can be extremely beneficial in enabling constructive conversations, honest dialogue and the building of trust and collaboration.
Lyn Paxman has over 20 years experience of facilitation, working with corporate leaders and teams. She helps teams to have better conversations, which lead to better decisions and better results.
Her facilitated Customer Journey Review is a powerful way of exploring whether promises to your customers are being kept further down the line. Contact Lyn on 07950 914328, firstname.lastname@example.org