Culture refresh with a focus on executive alignment.
It looks like your organization is in the midst of a culture change and you're caught in the middle. It might be necessary to clarify what the culture change means for your team so you can unlock your adaptive journey. We suggest you start here.
- David Sturt, employee management expert and author, has identified six essential components to strong cultures: purpose, opportunity, success, appreciation, well-being and leadership.
- Start by reviewing every asset you can find that articulates the cultural vision that your executive team is establishing.
- Use the six components that Sturt outlines as a way of codifying the culture for yourself.
- Next, spend time with the leadership team. Get them to articulate their cultural vision for the organization in their own words.
- Ask them to describe what the lived experience of the culture should feel like, what behaviors would demonstrate that it was coming to life as they hoped, and where they feel your team is missing the mark.
- Listen for clues to understand what they are passionate about to help you understand how best to connect to their vision.
- For some executives, a renewed focus on customer-centricity, data-informed thinking, or agility may be the primary lens through which they are viewing things.
- Once you understand the executive vision—and most importantly the preoccupations behind it—and identify the ways your current culture is not stacking up, you'll know where to begin the cultural change within your team.
- With your marketing management team, write a cultural charter that consolidates the insights gathered from the team and your own observations to date.
- Ask them to find the commonalities and connections with the organizational culture, while also articulating the elements that are unique to the marketing team.
- Culture is expressed in both values (aspirations) and behaviors (what you do), so make sure to highlight the distinction between the two.
- We recommend starting with the values and then crafting behaviors by asking how you will know if you are living the related values.
- These behaviors become practical proof points for enabling values to become tangible.
- When writing the cultural charter, be succinct but also leave room for your values and behaviors to be brought to life uniquely by the different people on your team.
- Be cognizant of the things that you can change and those that are outside of your control. It is important to name items that live at a global or organizational level which cannot be immediately impacted by your culture-building efforts with the marketing team. These items become an executive to-do list for you to take to senior leadership.
- Once crafted, share your cultural charter with executives to demonstrate the ways in which you're enabling the corporate culture to be fully realized by your team.
- Address any feedback they have and then share the final result with your team. Treat it as an iterative document that the team can give feedback on and management can continue to refine.
- Now that you have a cultural charter in place, it's important to incorporate and reinforce it in your team's regular workflow.
- Whenever possible, find opportunities to remind your team of the cultural values and behaviors by demonstrating them yourself—in small and large ways.
- Look for opportunities to incorporate your values and behaviors into 1:1s, performance reviews, onboarding and even key working documents like briefs. If a cultural value is bravery, for instance, you may need to change how your briefing documents are structured to help team members to think and act in this way. Consider rewarding team members who have done a remarkable job of embodying one or more values as a way of encouraging adoption.
- Lastly, check in often with your team about their views on the team culture. Consider incorporating questions about culture (comprehension, agreement and manifestation) into your employee surveys.
It looks like your organization is in the midst of a culture change and you're caught in the middle.