I have always dreamed of creating an industry-leading culture where people are jazzed to come to work, believe in the mission and vision of the business, and expect excellence. However, until this year, I have always fallen-short. Every effort to impact our office culture had failed. When I tried to implement cultural change, our team would be motivated and happy for one day, and then show up the next day with the same drab disposition.
This year, it has been different. Over the last four months, we have developed a dynamite culture and have a waitlist of potential hires. Every day I walk into work, excited for the day, thrilled to work with our amazing team, and generally expect everyone to show up with his or her “A” game. Our positive cultural change has greatly impacted my quality of life including my marriage, spiritual life, and friendships.
Be Intentional About the People
In Dave Ramsey’s book Entreleadership, he argues that your business failures are your fault. You are the captain of the ship and if the ship is sailing in the wrong direction, it’s your responsibility to change course.
In January, I came to terms with the fact that I had a few bad shipmates. Those negative team members were bringing the entire organization down. You know the kind of people I’m talking about…the kind that are always having an “ok” day. They show up, punch the clock, complain a little, and go home.
More Money ≠ Happier Employees
One of the cardinal mistakes of many managers is a lack of understanding of what motivates their employees. For most hourly employees, money is not the primary motivating force for their work satisfaction. As you start to learn your team, you will find that many are motivated by their breaks, by spending time with their kids, by having a positive work environment, etc.
Change Behavior to Change Attitude
Unfortunately, this is counter-intuitive. It seems more reasonable that behavior would follow a change in mindset. However, we found that by changing the standards, it was impossible to keep up unless our team consistently used the proper mindset. In our case, our team’s attitude improved with higher, unrelenting standards of work quality.
In our transition, the way we turned over many of our cancerous employees was by simply implementing unwavering standards. By systemizing and expecting positive actions, we effectively forced behavior change.
Be Personally Invested in Others’ Growth
We want all of our team members to advance, which may seem strange considering we are a relatively small team with little upward potential. It’s much better to train people to be excellent and knowing they will move on rather than locking the employees into mediocrity at your business forever. It’s much harder to advance a business and impossible to develop a positive culture with mediocre employees possessing mediocre attitudes.