What’s your cultural agenda for 2012?

Hands piled on top of each other

Arndria Seymour blogs about working to create an effective business culture this year.

Happy New Year and I hope you have come back to your workplace relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for a great 2012.

Last year I finished off by asking what can you do to mobilise your employees for the tough economic times ahead of us in 2012?  Focus your attention on what is important, rather than trying to boil the ocean was what I suggested. A few cascading objectives, that everyone in the organisation is working on achieving. in the new one kitchen, many dining rooms approach to business. Remember we should be one team. So why don’t we operate as ‘one’ team in many organisations?

Over the holiday break I have been reflecting on what differentiates organisations and makes them great places to work.  Was it because they were perceived to be innovative organisations, but calculated risk takers? Were they entrepreneurial – just driven/determined to be successful? What made organisations attract and retain Australia’s top talent because they were perceived as ‘the place to work’?

The more I thought about it and talk to industry colleagues and my marketplace connections the more I was convinced it is all about employees feeling like they have autonomy – that freedom of thinking and ability to act. They had supportive leaders that were authentic in style and walked the talk. Teamwork was not a poster on their organisational walls; it was a way of doing business – a way of life. Cascading KPIs so there was a high desire to contribute and achieve the organisational agendas and goals. I promise you I was not wearing my 3D glasses and talking to the blue people in Avatar. All of these ingredients together can drive business results and differentiate you from your competition. This could be the edge you need in this highly competitive global marketplace.

So what can you do to engender this thinking and way of being in your organisation?

According to DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2011 (Australia Highlights) ‘Only one-fourth of Australian and New Zealand organisations have an effective culture; talent management efforts alone cannot be expected to bridge the gap in leadership quality.”  Strong focus in the following three areas is viewed as critical for organisational success, particularly over the next three years in the prevailing global economy:

1. Driving and managing change

2. Coaching and developing others

3. Executing organisational strategy

What’s new you might be asking yourself? The answer may be nothing as you know this already! We are getting better at identifying the chinks in our organisational armour, but few of us are acting on the knowledge to hand. Do you have the courage to call colleagues out for inappropriate behaviour, political or personal game-playing, silo thinking and operating, hanging on to past ways of doing, rather than embracing the way things work in the current millennium? The list goes on I have to say.  Why don’t we?  Don’t we care anymore?  Are we just immune and accept that this is the way it is, so suck it up and get on with it?

Organisations must lead from the top and be role models for all members of the organisational family. Also organisations fail to understand that the concept of one team and one agenda applies equally to all employees, contractors and consultants working and being paid by the organisation. There are no exemptions to organisational membership until such as time when you exit your employment or contractual arrangements with the organisation. Few people seem to grasp this concept applies to all and not just anybody, somebody and nobody – the three individuals that work in all of our organisations and are usually to blame for everything that goes wrong.

So what is your cultural agenda for 2012? What are you going to start to do differently to engender a better organisational culture and better place to work?