Transforming Your Organization’s Culture Through Its PEOPLE
FEB 26, 2020 | Dennis Sherrin, Avizo
Written by: Dennis Sherrin, Avizo Group
In the modern workplace, we all know how vital culture is. This is because culture is a reflection of the implied priorities of an organization and its people. It can be a powerful force in the success of your organization as it is what draws in and retains talent.
This article will address what role the leadership of your organization has in shaping your company’s culture, as well as how to determine what your culture is, and finally, suggestions for improvement. Although I am continually learning, culture is something I have focused on heavily during my tenure as CEO of Avizo Group, Inc. (formerly Hartmann, Blackmon, & Kilgore, P.C.) and it’s something I regularly give presentations on at industry-wide seminars.
Leadership’s Role in Defining Culture
I like to say the four fundamentals that are key to any organization’s future are: PEOPLE, Planning, Processes, and Technology. The last three do not matter if the organization does not focus on PEOPLE.
The leader of an organization, impacts culture, but we do not create it. The people in your organization are the ones who create the culture. As a leader, it is our responsibility to set a clear vision and purpose, and then trust our team to achieve the goals that make the vision a reality. Your focus on PEOPLE will inherently create a positive culture.
Determining Your Culture
Understanding the current state of culture in your organization requires knowing your organization from the view of your employees, customers, and vendors. This involves having conversations, asking questions, and listening to the answers.
Here are some ideas on how to get some insights:
- Ask your vendors how you they see your working relationship.
- Observe how vendors work with your organization.
- Ask your customers to complete surveys.
- Share a meal with your strategic clients and ask them how they view your organization.
- Ask your employees to answer anonymous surveys (like the Best Companies Survey).
- Spend time meeting with employees in an environment where they are comfortable and able to share their honest views on the organization.
- Listen to the community around you.
This information gives you a view on your organization’s culture that you can compare to your own perceptions. Once you appreciate the information you have gathered, you can begin to take steps to intentionally transform the culture within your organization.
Transforming Your Organization’s Culture
The process of transformation has a beginning but, never has an end. Being a leader means you have an obligation to care for those around you. That caring role requires transparency, delegation, empowerment and trust. Leaders do not tell their team what the culture will be, instead they bring their team together to achieve the goals and purpose of the organization. Lastly, leaders must be genuine in all they do.
This means a leader needs to continually listen and get feedback from employees, vendors, clients, and community members. We not only listen, leaders must empower and let go by doing the following:
- Evaluate where we came from rather than just where we are going.
- Have a defined vision and strategy.
- Give your team have the freedom to act to better the organization.
- Create organization-wide (and even individualized) action plans to achieve goals.
- Celebrate progress to keep a positive mindset.
Here at Avizo Group, we work very hard to continually improve the culture in our organization. The resources we utilize focus on how, as leaders, we can better serve employees in our care. We work to understand natural talents, unique abilities, communication capabilities, and the interests of each member of our team. In addition, we have employee-led initiatives on workplace, strategic objectives, and life-work balance.
These efforts over the past 10 years have transformed a great accounting firm to a Best Place to Work in Alabama. Our PEOPLE are our culture and the future of our organization. Our PEOPLE don’t work for us, they work with us.
Please join me on March 18, to hear more of the story of Avizo Group (f/k/a Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore) and useful tools and concepts to transform a culture.
Click here to learn more about our Smart Business Academy on this topic and register.
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