How inspired are your employees every day? Are they excited to serve each other and your customers, and nimble and ready to deal with the curve balls business undoubtedly will provide that day?
Or are they not enthused about their work, their peers or their customers? More interested in their smartphones than in engaging with team members to "wow" customers. Unfortunately, research indicates the latter. Most employees aren't inspired at work. In fact, Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace reports that only 33 percent of American workers are actively engaged.
How can leaders build a workforce of talented, engaged team members who love what they do?
By making values, such as how people treat each other, as important as results, and by ensuring that everyone, including leaders, team members, customers, everyone, is treated with trust, respect and dignity in every interaction. That won’t happen, however, without a significant shift in expectations, demonstration and accountability by leaders.
To create these purposeful, positive, productive work cultures, leaders must craft an organizational constitution, then align all plans, decisions and actions to it.
An organizational constitution includes the following:
- your team’s (or company’s) servant purpose;
- its values and behaviors: and
- its strategies and goals.
Your team or company's servant purpose specifies its “reason for being,” besides making money or selling coffee or whatever product or service your company sells. Certainly making money and delivering results is important. However, few front-line employees are inspired by, or directly impacted by, profits alone.
Your servant purpose formalizes a meaningful foundation for every employee because it focuses on truly serving your customers’ needs. It outlines what your team does, for whom and “to what end.” Basically, it identifies how your team improves customers’ quality of life daily.
Next, your organizational constitution formalizes your desired values and defines them in observable, tangible, measurable behaviors.
Desired values usually garner quick agreement. The real work comes when leaders must specify three or four behaviors that are the “values standards,” ensuring everyone models that desired value perfectly.
Here’s an example: A client recently defined its integrity value as “acting with virtue, sincerity and truthfulness.” It then described three observable, measurable behaviors that every staff member must demonstrate. They include “I align my actions with our values,” “I am honest and do what I say I will do,” and “I take responsibility for my actions and I learn from my mistakes.”
Defining values in behavioral terms like these leave not doubt as to how that value is to be modeled daily.
The third element of an organizational constitution is performance expectations, formalized in the team's strategies and goals. Most organizations have crafted some form of performance expectations and long-term strategic planning, so this section may well go quickly.
Defining your desired culture with an organizational constitution is the easy part. The hard part? Aligning all plans, decisions and actions to these new expectations. Leaders must live the new servant purpose and valued behaviors every minute. Only then will their organizational constitution be considered credible by employees — and worthy of embracing it by those employees.
This isn't science fiction. It’s what happens today in world-class retail organizations like Starbucks, Five Below, Zappos, and others.
The impact is impressive. When leaders align practices and behaviors to their desired organizational constitution, three things happen within 18 months of implementing the change. Employee engagement goes up by 40 percent. Customer service goes up by 40 percent. Results and profits rise by 35 percent. Don’t leave your culture to chance. Be intentional with an organizational constitution.
S. Chris Edmonds is a speaker, author, and executive consultant who is the founder of The Purposeful Culture Group. Chris is the author of the Amazon best-seller "The Culture Engine" and five other books.
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