Great culture doesn’t just happen. Building a strong culture requires planning, effort, and incorporation into your daily processes and behaviors.
If culture is the sum of our daily actions, then people and teams are the true drivers of culture. The people you choose to be leaders, the individuals you promote, the way you organize teams, and who you decide to hire all send strong messages about your culture.
Ensure cultural fit is an evaluation criteria for selecting leaders or employees. Make cultural fit part of your design considerations for organizing a team.
At one consulting firm whose culture is very strong, they focus on being a meritocracy. People are valued about all else. Selection to lead teams and become a partner at the firm is based in large part upon people leadership and cultural fit for their behaviors.
One candidate to become a partner used to beat their teams up. He would overwork them, not show appreciation for their work and, in some cases, be disrespectful to team members. During the partner evaluation process, 360 evaluations were conducted. This person received very strong negative feedback about their behaviors. They weren’t promoted that cycle. He was given a clear development plan to behave in a more culturally appropriate manner. He did change his behaviors and eventually got promoted to partner.
Let’s look at tying culture to organizing your teams. There are several techniques for building teams that will support your culture:
Leadership Role Selection
When selecting someone for a leadership role, assess their prior efforts and how they’ve strengthened or weakened culture. Have the strength to pass over someone who gets results at the expense of the culture you’re trying to build.