Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Your tribe is a reflection of your leadership - are they following or leaving you?

Your workplace is your tribe, people who you spend significant time with on a regular basis, you may even socialise with them after hours. If you google the meaning of the word Tribe, the most common informal meaning is - a group that people belong to. 
According to the Oxford dictionary a tribe is - a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.
So what are some of the elements of a tribe in the work place we need to consider or connect with that will make us stay?
Belonging - Is the place you work create a sense of belonging? Is it where you really want to be?
Think back to the time when you went for the job interview for your current role. When you walked into the office you would have surveyed the building, taken note of the reception area, how people behaved and engaged with the person conducting the interview. When you walked out you would have made a decision as to whether you wanted to work there or not. 
Now that you have been there for a while - long or short term, has the reason why you selected your tribe still exist? Have they met all the promises made? Is there a future there for you that will provide you with long term financial security that you will not find anywhere else?
Leader of the pack
The leader of an organisation is often the one who sets the standards of accepted behaviour and performance that becomes part of your culture. They will create drive and change culture; how they behave and manage their people and business affects everyone.
Change needs to be lead from the top. If, for example, our leaders are not interested in training or learning, then neither will the employees. People look to their leaders not so much for what they say but more for what they do.
If you are in a senior position or have been with the business for a significant period of time people will look at you as a leader. Are you behaving like one?
How are the leaders in your tribe behaving, is there mutual respect, do they drive change, is culture important, is your success important to them, have they put in place a plan that will help you achieve your goals?
Creating the right culture
When you open your doors for business on the first day you will have a vision and goals that you wish to achieve. Making a profit is probably at the top of the list and there is a link between creating the right culture and your bottom line.
As your business grows and you employ people you will set in place systems and processes that work and you value. Examples of these are Monday morning sales meetings, Tuesday morning training sessions, caravans, monthly group meetings, professional development days, customer service standards, performance driven teams who celebrate success, where opinions are valued which then become part of your business and culture.
However poor performance, back stabbing, bitchiness, poor decision making can also become part of a culture.
Remember culture is very much about the way we chose to do things and what we value and the messages we send out and receive. Leaders and managers in an organisation impact directly upon this.
Recruiting the right people to fit into your culture is important. Induction programs, buddy systems, training programs are various ways to do this. It is human nature to want to belong to a tribe and when we are invited in we make changes to our behaviour to fit in otherwise we get ejected or we choose to leave.
When recruiting from other organisations be aware that what you have created can be changed or diluted and it is imperative that new members of your tribe understand why you do things the way you do.
If an employee does not fit into your culture they will often choose to leave and move elsewhere. Be aware of those that don’t and manage them out before they have a negative impact on the group.
Each one of us has value sets that we take through life and these can have an impact on what we chose to do on a daily basis. We spend our life making choices on what is important, vital, and necessary or a luxury.
As managers and leaders we need to recognise that everyone in the work place has different values and sometimes it may lead to issues or influence decisions that we are making.
There will be lines that people are simply not prepared to step over, recognise this and work with them to find a middle ground.
In a large organisation there are many leaders, they impact and create their own culture within their business units. There is no such thing as one culture in these businesses but as many as the number of managers, directors and leaders you have. How do you build a culture that is strong and evolving – you hold people accountable for the culture that they build in their businesses.
In smaller organisations that manager or director has a direct and immediate impact on the culture of the business. How they behave, the decisions that are made, systems and processes, all play a part.
Cultural change
Culture is taught, learned and shared, it is what we do, think and feel. It rules almost every aspect of our lives and more often then not we are completely unaware of it. Culture within an organisation is important as it sets boundaries on accepted behaviour and allows teams to work with each other.
When trying to change a culture in an organisation you will have people who will resist and form mini armies to fight the enemy, others will simply sit on the fence and may or may not chose to influence parties and those who will embrace changes with enthusiasm with the attitude of ‘bring it on’.
Those who are against change will choose to move on or may need to be encouraged to leave and your fence sitters must make a choice either way.
Leaders and managers play an influential role dependant on their ability, rapport, communication and motivational skills.
Cultural change can be as simple as changing the format of a conference and as complicated as going from a single office to a franchise organisation.
Getting it right
The culture of your organisation can be a competitive advantage as are your people. Many businesses today don’t fully understand the impact of culture and often will simply let it evolve. The issue with this is get it wrong and your business will suffer, get it right however and it will create an environment for your people to thrive in.
Stop and think about what messages you are sending out to your people, what is your culture, has it evolved, are you driving it?
Remember culture is a powerful tool that you can use to drive performance and productivity however if you choose to ignore it and hope for the best the chances are that the tribe will be voting to opt out and join up with your competitors

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Lunch Club

Last week, on my facebook feed, a post from nearly 4 years ago popped up that had me reflecting on what I call the "lunch club". It was a few weeks before my birthday, nearly 4 years ago,  and I took the opportunity to catch up with my girlfriends and yes I know what some of you are thinking right now – a great excuse for a bunch of girls to get together and have a few bubbles. Well that may be partly right I guess but here are some of the other reasons.
The Lunch Club is simply a bunch of business women, majority of whom own their own businesses, getting together for lunch and networking.
However here is the key difference.
We come together as mothers, business women, friends, and sisters; there is no pretence; no judgement; just honesty, trust and the ability to simply be ourselves. We give each other permission to be who we are, to share, and to ask for help, to provide the kick in the butt when needed, to cry to laugh and support each other. We all know that no matter what if one of us was in dire need the rest would be there to help or support.
 It is the group that have the permission to pull you aside and dong you on the head with an empty drink bottle (plastic one) because you needed it. (and yes it did happen to me!)
It's almost the same as when we were a lot younger, in fact as young teenage girls, talking, sharing, laughing, crying over a drink or a coffee or an ice cream. Why is it as we get older, we seem to stop doing the very thing that makes women different?
Do you have a lunch club? Why not create one for yourself? How often do you get together with likeminded people, peers from other industries? Are you a member of your institute or  chapter. And it doesn't have to be lunch, it can be a coffee, or a drink or an ice cream!
Networking is not about meeting at the local pub it is also about seeking new opportunities, promoting what you do, learning and sharing.
Too often I see businesses and teams who only really mix amongst themselves with no encouragement from management to expand their horizons.
If you only network within your own businesses how are you benchmarking yourself, learning, understanding, how is your industry is changing, recruiting or marketing your businesses.
Remember if the same bunch of people, from the same organisation meet with each other on a regular basis and tell each other how wonderful they are and how fantastic everything is or in fact the opposite you will not be aware of what changes are occurring in your marketplace, potentially become complacent, believe in your own babble and be unaware of your competitors until they bite you on the proverbial.
So start up your own lunch club, have a mix of business and pleasure, attend industry events, be involved – it’s the only way you create change and most of all share and learn