The Road to Change: A Blueprint for Building A High Performance Team Culture

We have been talking a lot about change recently. Specifically, we have been talking about how to change company culture to achieve accountability and results. Up to this point, we’ve talked a lot about the “what” and “why” of culture. The “how” to get to a high performance culture probably still seems a little abstract.

Do you have to just be lucky enough to end up with a strong, positive leader who knows how to initiate the change in a company’s culture?

the road to change: a blueprint for building a high performance team cultureOr is there a map that leaders can follow or a blueprint that can guide that change and ultimately lead to the desired end result?

In our last post, we talked about the three main drivers of culture (experiences, beliefs and behaviors), and also the leader’s role in creating  an organization’s culture.

Today, we give leaders a six-step blueprint for how to change culture.

  1. Define the desired outcome
  2. Identify behaviors, beliefs, and experiences necessary to achieve the desired outcome
  3. Assess the gap
  4. Identify Priority 1
  5. Gain commitment to change
  6. Set a rhythm of accountability

We’ll focus on the first step in this post, so stay tuned to the subsequent posts for the complete blueprint for building a high-performance culture.

If improved results is the end goal (and it should be), then starting with these steps to define the desired results will put you on the right road.

the road to change: a blueprint for building a high performance team culture 1

So let’s begin:

Step 1: Define The Desired Outcome for a High Performance Team Culture

As a leader, it is crucial to get crystal clear on the outcome you want. Without that clarity, it is a little bit like starting a journey without a final destination in mind. If you are not clear on where you want to go, then no one knows what actions need to be taken to help get there.

Determine the Focus

It is also important to pay attention to focus: Are you trying to avoid a problem or move toward something bold?

For example, I was working with a client who wanted to move their culture more toward a focus on quality and accountability. The driving force for this was the realization that revenues had been severely impacted the previous year because of rework.

My question to them was: Do you want to focus on avoiding rework or on exceeding customer expectations in every way?

Moving toward a big, bold vision is more compelling for the team and in the end leads to better results.

Create a vision

As you reflect on the desired outcome of change for your company, you want to imagine and then paint a clear picture of the future. Visuals appeal to everyone, so the better the visual, the bigger the buy-in from the team.

The vision itself must be audacious and bold, and inspiring. At its core, it has a clear purpose that makes the case for change.

In other words, it provides the “why” for change, and why each team member is motivated to come to work and contribute to their highest potential.

Set goals

As a leader, you want to provide measurable milestones to your team that move you closer to your vision. These milestones in turn help you and your teams track the progress the company is making toward positive change.

Finally, the goals provide the “what” do we need to do to end up at the “why”. Achieving x,y,z goals will help us get to the desired outcome, together. And the outcome to aspire to is high performance team culture where people want to work.

Why A Clear Vision Is So Important for Your Team

To reiterate the importance of a clear vision, let’s think about the daily experience of using GPS in our cars or on our phones instead of using paper maps. Too often when using GPS (especially telling us when and where to turn), we don’t see the big picture that we would otherwise see on a map. We become a slave of the device – unable to make informed choices on our own. Without a vision, that is how our staff feel – all they can do is take orders.

I got renewed clarity around this recently when I hired my nephew to help me develop a mailing list. I gave him a list of companies and asked him to use LinkedIn to research and find the most senior Human Resources person at each company. However, I didn’t tell him why I wanted this information or how I intended to use it.

When I got the completed list there were names of people from all over the country and a few foreign companies. I actually wanted to invite these people to a local event. But it was unlikely someone from Nigeria or even Denver was going to attend! That was my fault – not my staff member’s.

I’d also like to add a final note about the end result of change. When defining the desired outcome, it is critical that everyone knows exactly what success will look like.

For example, if the desired outcome is a culture that focuses on quality, then you must be clear about exactly what constitutes quality.

What does quality look like in each department?

What are the standards and how will quality be measured?

And what are the behaviors that lead to quality – which is the topic of our next post.

If you’d like to find out more helpful ideas, and even the rest of the steps in more depth, get in touch with me here. I can help your organization’s leadership discover the vision to motivate teams to change and succeed.

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