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Which Actions Build Culture

It is easy to sit around the conference table and wordsmith a mission statement. Everyone can contribute favorite values like “collaboration,” “innovation,” “compassion,” and “commitment to excellence.” The entire team can voice a commitment to behave in a way that reflects the spirit of the vision. The Human Resources department can reward good behavior and punish violations. Leadership can have the words painted on the wall where employees enter the workspace. Although a good start, these are not the actions that build positive culture.

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The Space Between Pain and Problem-solving

Growth happens for many reasons. The demand for your products and services exceeds your capacity. Your business plan calls for expanding to new markets. An acquisition doubled your headcount overnight. Whichever the cause, the employee engagement surveys identify the same pain point: constant change. Constant change energizes some teammates and exhausts others. The team quietly divides into subgroups separating those who embrace the speedy transformation from those who need time to process the impact. How do we bring these sides together?

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Wasting Team Energy on Office Politics

Zero-error is the goal in many industries. Transportation companies have mastered the skills of full disclosure, root cause analysis, and proactive risk reduction to keep people safe in the air on the rails. Healthcare attempts to apply the same principles yet continues to hurt people at surprising frequency in clinics and hospitals. In businesses where the stakes aren’t quite as high, it becomes a matter of efficiency and productivity.

You have to know where the source of waste or error is before you can make the world a better place. Often, the greatest misallocation of resources is the energy spent on managing team politics. Team dysfunction takes many forms and depletes the system. Assess and solve every disruption. Below are the symptoms of broken culture and suggestions for corrective actions.

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Have a Bad Day!

Seriously, we wish you a bad day. May struggle fill your agenda. May you confront problems never before faced. May your ability to adapt be tested. May you become aware of your weakest link. May demands stretch your team’s capacity to the brink of failure. Invite the tension. Seize the opportunity. Discover the resolution. What happens next is game changing.

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Strengthen One Relationship

Time is precious. The team’s highest priorities get attention and less important things get neglected. Unfortunately, the subjects of neglect are often people. When someone feels like a low priority, engagement suffers. These teammates come to work, do their job, go home, and collect their paychecks. Why would they go the extra mile? Yet, when we invest in people, they grow. Sleepwalkers become evangelists. Look at your team roster. Identify the teammate most likely to thrive if fed. Sponsor his or her development. Here’s how.

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