Issue No. 229 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting highlights a hot-off-the-ePress Kindle book on company culture. Heed this warning, “Low turnover can be an indication of a poor company culture just as high employee turnover indicates employees are not fully engaged.” And this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
It’s the Culture, Stupid!
Do you feel like Sisyphus, the mythical character, pushing your boulder-of-an-organization (or department) up a hill, knowing no matter how hard you work, it will eventually all just come crashing back down again? Then this is the book for you—but the solution may surprise you.
It’s the culture, stupid!
Authors David Russell and Robert Betzel begin their book by describing a modern day Sisyphus. They dive into the dismal corporate culture wasteland—expose the skinny relic that it is in most organizations—and then deliver a very, very practical step-by-step process for fixing it. In their view, a company culture must mean something—and it can be measured in sales, growth, engagement, healthy relationships and much more.
News Flash! You must get this book! It’s already on my Top-10 List for 2011—and I still have about 15 books to read before New Year’s Eve—but I’m that confident you’ll find huge value in The Company Culture Challenge. (Note: You can download it now on Kindle and other apps. The hardback is coming in October.)
Example: when is the last time a business book (or high-priced consultant) added the word “accountability” after mission, vision and values? Russell and Betzel do—and their action steps to build accountability into your culture’s DNA are worth the price of a hundred Kindles.
The book refuses to waste your time with hypothetical, theoretical mumbo jumbo filler. Instead, the authors deliver real people in real organizations who demonstrate what a healthy and thriving culture looks like. Example: Jim Cabela, founder of the $2.6 billion outdoor retailing company Cabela’s, “works until noon daily personally addressing new complaints received the day before from customers.” Ya think that might inspire the troops?
How’s this? To take the company culture temperature at other organizations, they suggest you give your team members $50 to $100 each to purchase something at another company—and then report back to the group on their experience. (Allow your people to keep what they buy.)
Always and Never. Do you articulate your values using “Always” and “Never” standards? Russell includes his Top-10 “Always Standards” in the book. Example: “Always observe the client’s surroundings like Sherlock Holmes.”
Another good one: As you create the perfect customer (or donor, or volunteer or client) experience, what are your “Experience Bookends?” How do you start and how do you end every customer experience? Have you created an intentional culture? See—this stuff is very, very practical.
Gut check time! “Do you know that statistics prove it costs an average of one year’s compensation to replace an employee?” Stuck with team members who “were great actors during interviews, but poor performers on the job?” The recruiting standards chapter is brilliant.
Low turnover? “If you are experiencing high employee turnover then you are either not hiring people who fit well in your company culture or your leadership skills/systems need work. If you are experiencing low employee turnover, then it may be too easy to work at your company.” So they suggest specific ways to improve your hiring process.
Goal alignment is a big deal in their step-by-step process. They quote Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “…81 percent of employees do not have clear, measurable goals.” Yikes! They add, “If you are not working on your culture, then your company culture is working against you.”
What’s the problem? “They have leadership tendencies, but no leadership skills because they have not been trained, coached and mentored how to lead people systematically, even though they follow proven processes for accounting, operations, marketing, sales and technology.”
What’s the solution? Scrap the “Idea-of-the-Week Club” and, instead, use this book to begin building company culture systems, step-by-step. And check out David Russell’s “free stuff” and templates at www.successwithpeople.com.
I need to sign off…and I’ve just scratched the surface of my Kindle notes and highlights—dozens of them—but they’re now digitized on my personal Amazon Kindle webpage for future reference. I’m starting to like this thin little machine! (Didn’t think I would.)
To order this Kindle book from Amazon (the hardback is coming in October), click on the graphic below for The Company Culture Challenge, by Robert Betzel and David Russell.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) The authors are (ahem) in your face a bit, like this note: “Those of you who do not know your Average Client Lifetime Value, and think this is a stupid waste of time, need to make a choice: (1) calculate the value; or (2) stop reading this book because you have not experienced enough pain yet to convince you to change your company culture.” So…do we know our Average Client (or Volunteer or Donor) Lifetime Value here?
2) The authors write, “How can we expect our people to deliver a perfect client experience if we have never defined what it is? This is the primary purpose of this stage: To work through a process to define from your client's perspective what a perfect experience is when they interact with your company.” So…what’s our next step?
Kindle the Hoopla! - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in the Hoopla! Bucket, Chapter 10, in Mastering the Management Buckets is to recognize your team’s contributions with spontaneous hoopla! So here’s a way to coach your team on company culture, with a little bit of hoopla! added in.
Purchase a Kindle from Amazon for your next staff meeting. Give Hank a week on the Kindle and tell him he can download a book of his choice (like this issue’s book)—and ask for his book review at your next staff meeting. Then ask Hank to hand it off to another team member for the same drill the following week. At the end of each quarter, present a new Kindle to the best book reviewer. Maybe offer an iPad to the best reviewer of the year for the one book that has had the greatest impact on your organization.
For book recommendations on hoopla!, such as The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their Employees, Retain Talent, and Drive Performance, visit the Hoopla! Bucket webpage.
Aug. 23, 2011 (Archived at ECFA) - Webinar: 3 Core Competencies for God-honoring Church Governance with Steve Macchia and Dan Busby
Sept. 8, 2011 (Thursday) – Webinar: Goal Alignment—The Missing Link in Leadership Effectiveness (hosted by The Mission Exchange)
Sept. 23, 2011 (Tuesday) – Webinar: 3 Core Competencies for Nonprofit Ministry Governance with Steve Macchia and Dan Busby (hosted by ECFA)
Sept. 17, 2011 (Saturday) – Nonprofit Board Governance Workshop (hosted by Town and Country Manor, Santa Ana, Calif.)
Sept. 27-28, 2011 (Tues. & Wed.) – Mastering the Management Buckets Workshop Experience, (Orange County, Calif.)
Oct. 6, 2011 (Thursday) – The Top-10 Hiring Mistakes (Orange County, Calif.)
Oct. 7, 2011 (Friday) - Goal Alignment: How to Turbo-charge Your Organization by Focusing on S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Every Team Member, Board Member & Volunteer (Orange County, Calif.)
Oct. 20, 2011 (Thursday) - 9 Governance Essentials for Nonprofit Ministries Forum, with Steve Macchia and Dan Busby (sponsored by ECFA and hosted by Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Oct. 25-26, 2011 (Tues. & Wed.) – The Rolling 3-Year Strategic Plan Workshop (Sponsored by Neighborhood Christian Fellowship and Arrow Community Center, Covina, Calif., and hosted by Christian Community Credit Union, San Dimas, Calif.)