NCET explores business and technology
By Kevin Ciccotti
Whether you manage or work for a large multinational company or a small local business, one of the most important factors in your company’s success is its culture. Culture is defined as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution or organization. It picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture guides discretionary behavior, and tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room – which is most of the time.
Studies have shown that the culture of an organization can account for nearly 30 percent of business performance.
Here are three simple keys to help strengthen the culture of your organization.
1. Be intentional. The best organizations with the strongest internal cultures have clarity about what they’re seeking to create. Company leaders know exactly what kind of a culture they want to build, and the critical role it plays in achieving their performance objectives. They rely on core values, collaboration, communication, and integrity not only in how they speak, but also in how they act.
2. Listen generously. This one is so obvious that it’s easy to overlook. Think about how hard it is to actually do it. We are bombarded throughout our day with so much input – from the demands of our jobs, the daily to-do lists, the demands of customers and employees, and the endless pings, buzzes, and rings of our phones, computers, and other electronic devices – all competing for our valuable and all-too- scarce time and attention.
3. Meet their needs for belonging and significance. People have an innate need for connection, belonging, and to be made to feel special. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. That need is not just psychological; it’s biological. When there is a feeling of connection and belonging in your organization, it deepens the feelings of trust throughout.
Most of us are aware of the surveys on employee engagement that show more than 2/3 of the workforce is either disengaged or actively disengaged. When asked why, more than 70% of respondents said they didn’t feel appreciated or that their contributions mattered. And yet, studies show the simple act of acknowledging someone for their contributions has a longer lasting effect than a pay raise. And it doesn’t cost anything!
So there it is. Three simple (but not necessarily easy) steps to help you develop a strong culture that supports success at every level of the organization. Using these strategies will lead to greater levels of engagement and productivity, and ultimately a deeper sense of belonging and pride in the company and the work we do every day.
Kevin Ciccotti, Certified Professional Coach, is President of Human Factor Formula, Inc. and NCET’s VP of Membership, Tech Cafe. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit that produces networking events to help individuals and businesses explore and use technology. This column first appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal.