Creating A Winning Culture

**So, what is a ‘Winning Culture‘ and what do we mean by it? And why is Creating A Winning Culture important or necessary? Culture is all about the unerring heartbeat of your business, which when running nice and smoothly needs little attention, except nutrition and TLC.

Creating A Winning Culture is all about this little story…

“In 1997, just before Christmas, my wife was taken quite ill, very suddenly. In fact her condition deteriorated so quickly that she had to have a very serious operation within a couple of weeks. I managed a big retail business and it was our peak time. My small team of fabulous managers approached me and told me not to come in, to leave the business to them. I thanked them for this and said, if it was OK with them, I’d come in when I wanted to, as I didn’t feel that moping around the house, between hospital visits, was going to do me any good. So I came in late after visiting, took two hours for lunch and left at 5. The business had their best ever Christmas; I felt part of the team; my managers did a fabulous job, all going onto bigger and better roles. My wife got better – thank you for asking!”

That’s a Winning Culture.

Creating A Winning Culture requires more than quick-fix actions, because it is a way of being. It is how things are. It is a whole host of words. Like:- trust, relationship, love, honesty, truth, values, team, people, contribution, caring, support, friendship, encouragement, well-being, understanding, listening, appreciation, development, taking the time, honouring…and more. When you’re about Creating A Winning Culture it comes, or it doesn’t. Working on it is slow and consistent and very, very rewarding.

“It’s the intangibles that are the hardest things for a competitor
to imitate. You can get an airplane. You can get ticket-counter space; you can
get baggage conveyors. But it is our esprit de corps – the culture – the spirit
– that is truly our most valuable competitive asset.”

Herb Kelleher,
Founder, South West Airlines

“Everyone needs to know and feel he is needed.
Everyone wants to be treated as an individual.”

Jan Carlzon, President, Scandinavian Airline System

Interesting – both from airlines…

In their seminal work, “First Break All the Rules”, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, quote the following, “…the top 25% of stores on the survey, ended the year almost 14% over their profit budget. Those stores in the bottom group missed theirs by a full 30%”.

This refers to a piece of work called Q12, which are simple questions, created to test the culture within organisations. You could do a lot worse than following this to start with.

Top Ten Things About Creating A Winning Culture

Creating A Winning Culture begins with your behaviours, attitudes and actions. There are lots of things which you can do to make the difference between a great and a dismal culture. By Creating A Winning Culture, it gives your business an extra dimension – like it’s one big being, rather than loads of individuals working together.

When you’ve experienced it, you know.

The best at Creating A Winning Culture

  1. Behave Equitably
    They treat others in a way they would wish to be treated themselves and encourage that in their business for all.
  2. Are Honest and Trustworthy
    Through a deep understanding of what is truly important, they realise that they must be open, honest and keep promises.
  3. Care About Their People
    Truly caring and supportive, these people understand that they are dealing with real human beings who have feelings, passions, emotions and sensitivities. And they make sure they treat them with respect.
  4. Use Coaching and Feedback
    They generate a wonderful learning organisation which fosters growth and challenge, yet also recognises that some people just want to do well and enjoy the roles they have, doing a great job.
  5. Recognise Success
    The best at Creating A Winning Culture
    seek to acknowledge good performance and recognise it in ways that will give value to the individual. They celebrate a job well done and reward appropriately.
  6. Communicate Well
    The ultimate listeners, those who enable the best cultures are truly interested in what others have to say. What is important to their people is appreciated. Information is openly shared and their people can contribute fully and comfortably.
  7. Delegate Well
    In the best business cultures, people do what they are best at. Those Creating A Winning Culture let go of the things they don’t need to do and use delegation as a development tool. Bringing new skills and successes to others – and enabling themselves to focus on growth and future.
  8. Build Relationships
    Making the best of their interactions of others is a talent. Great business cultures are personified by the nature of the way people interrelate, making for a synergistic explosion of shared ideas and integration.
  9. Appreciate Differences
    Everyone is part of a great team and business. There are many individuals who contribute their particular and unique skills and abilities into the pot of success. The exponents who are great at Creating A Winning Culture appreciate this variety.
  10. Have Fun
    And the thing easiest to notice about this sort of business? They are all at one, completely trusting each other and without ‘side’. That frees them to have fun a lot – and you can see it and feel it wherever you are in the business.

Ten Ways to be Better at Creating A Winning Culture

  1. Great Environment
    Have the place you work comfortable, with all resources in place. You have to get this right first, before expecting a great culture.
  2. Be Very Clear
    Through having a set of standards you state clearly and a process for identifying to people exactly what is expected of them, there will be no surprises. People will have their goals and targets. It will be easy for them to understand and deliver.
  3. Encourage Sharing
    Through your own modelling, you can help all of your people to work closely together in a generous and supportive way. Be the ‘shining beacon’ in this.
  4. Be a Champion
    Shout your loudest for how proud you are of your people as individuals and as a team. By flying their flag you will gel positive team spirit with individual performance.
  5. Listen and Talk
    Make contact with your people regularly, both formally and informally. Just listen to what they have to say, value their contribution (really, and show it!) and tell them the stuff they need to know.
  6. Be a Part
    Get yourself into the team. Show you are interested in the work they do – and even work with them too. Take the time and trouble to understand their work, their issues and their experiences.
  7. Watch for Opportunity
    Times will come when more can happen to bond your people together. They may not be obvious – so get alerted to these chances offered. Fine tune your awareness and go for it!
  8. Appreciate Effort
    Say ‘thank you’ and let people know they have done well – especially when they’ve gone an extra mile for you. Not only will they do it again, but you will also build your personal relationship with them and the culture.
  9. Encourage
    Where you have the opportunity, take the time to encourage the next phase of their growth. Make it a priority. People love to know how they are doing and what they can expect in their future. Give them some picture of their potential and a route to achieve it.
  10. Let it Happen
    Having an ongoing culture that works well is just something that can evolve. So keep out of the way as this wondrous thing starts to take place. Great cultures become self-fulfilling!

5 Simple Actions You Can Take Today!

  • Take a sense check of the ‘culture’ you currently have. Score it out of 10. What is missing for a 10?
  • Check out all the actions in the list above and see which you would score less than 10 for each of those. Where are your weak spots?
  • Identify any organisation, big or small who are exemplars of a wonderful culture. Find out what they do to nurture that.
  • Take time to be content with yourself about this. Culture comes – but it takes a little time to understand the concept and incorporate it’s elements. It’s OK.
  • Visualise what value Creating A Winning Culture will bring you.

There are some wonderful books, specifically about this. Here are the best :-

“Good to Great” – Jim Collins
“Jack: Straight from the Gut” – Jack Welch
“Maverick!” – Ricardo Semler
“Moments of Truth” – Jan Carlzon