Think of a top-notch organization you know—one you wholeheartedly tell others to work for, or whose story you share with friends at dinner.
- Why do you recommend it?
- What makes it so unique?
- Or put more forcefully, why is that organization so remarkable, and rare, that you tell stories about it?
- What causes you to feel so strongly about the organization?
Top organizations share the most powerful, hard-to-replicate, and sustainable competitive advantage—a winning culture.
“Nearly everything about your organization—including your strategy, products, and systems—can be replicated, except one thing: the effectiveness of your people. Culture is the ultimate competitive advantage.” – Bob Whitman, Chairman & CEO, FranklinCovey Company
So, what is culture?
- It’s the collective behavior of your people
- It’s what the majority of your people do the majority of the time
- It’s the nature of the language and relationships
- It’s spoken and unspoken values, norms, and systems at work
Winning cultures are filled with superb people who deliver as promised time after time. A winning culture gives you someone and something to trust.
Winning cultures are unique, deliberately designed and maintained, and rare.
Cultures that are truly great, consist of employees that can agree to the following statement:
I am a valued member of a winning team doing meaningful work in an environment of trust.
8 (or so) Questions to Help You Build a Winning Culture
If you want to create a winning culture, here are 8 culture building questions to get you started:
- How clear are our team members on what truly matters most to the organization and the customers they serve?
- How aligned our team member behaviors (e.g., prioritization, time management, collaboration, etc.) with those things that matter most?
- Do team members see a connection between their daily work and the goals of the organization?
- How credible are our leaders? Do they have both the character and competence to effectively lead?
- Would team members chose to follow our leaders if they weren’t bestowed with the title ‘leader’?
- Do our leaders create an environment of trust – starting with their own behaviors?
- What processes and procedures does our organization have in place that allow our people to bring the best to work everyday? Which ones hold our people back?
- Are we winning or losing? Does everybody know? What are we doing about it?
Answer these 8 questions on your own and invite your team members to do the same. Then, get together and have a candid conversation about your answers. Doing so, is the right first step to building a winning culture in your organization.
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.