Creating a new culture in your business is an extremely difficult thing to do, mainly because many times it requires you to be the one to make the most changes in the way you lead and direct your team. Unless you are lucky enough to be stepping in as a new CEO as the result of a merger or turnaround opportunity, many times the well is already tainted by the preconceived notions of your team and your bad habits and poor leadership skills that lead to the need for change in the first place. So, let’s start by agreeing that the CEO is the one who creates the culture, and leads by example in the business. Therefore, the biggest hurdle will be to change the behavior of the CEO.
The First Step is to GIVE
Yes give. You will need to give your staff many things. If the culture has suffered, then so has the staff, so you must begin by giving back to the people that contribute so much to your company. This is done in many forms such as training, benefits, bonuses, incentives, your presence and time. Depending upon how damaged the current culture is, and how much of the current culture can be salvaged during the repair process; this step could take months or even years.
Kat Cole, CEO of Cinnabon used these tactics when first becoming CEO after leaving her VP position at Hooters to rebuild the beaten down staff of the chain. She stated it was very important to help the staff and franchisees to become profitable and engaged if the brand was to survive and started with giving them tools and incentives. Once you begin to rebuild the trust of the staff, you can begin the second step.
Celebrate Small Victories
Once you have built a level of trust with the staff, you can begin to celebrate small victories with them. It is important to find things that are going well, then highlight and celebrate them even if many things are still going badly. In order to refill the trust bucket that was emptied with your staff due to a bad culture, you must begin to identify and celebrate the victories within the business and provide positive feedback to the team. In the beginning, the smallest victories will make the biggest difference, especially in a culture that has lacked much if any positive reinforcement and feedback.
Achieve the Power of Possibility
As you and your team begin to go through new issues together, you will now find yourselves shoulder to shoulder instead of nose to nose. Now you can begin to work together to find the possibilities within the business that could not be accessed due to the culture that existed prior. As you begin to help the staff realize just what is possible, they will begin to find the power to make it possible.
Once the staff has embraced the new culture, the business will thrive on its own internal energy.
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