As a leader have you ever wondered why your message does not reach the end of the organization? If you have, welcome to the club. The issue is that the original “Why” gets lost in the cultural telephone game and changes as it moves down through the company. Ultimately, the values and behaviors that drive the experience for the associates and customers are never heard or seen. What does that look like? In the case of retail, have you ever been a fan of a location but not the brand itself? It is hard to grow a company that has a brittle and diverse set of micro-cultures. Here are some ideas to start exploring to help “Your Why” stay the Why.
- The message with the most air-time is the one that gets heard. As a CEO or Senior leader, make sure to keep your message front and center to your direct reports.
- Use multiple channels to communicate. Just because you said it once in a weekly call does not mean that it was heard or prioritized the way you think it should be. If you were running for public office, where would you show up, what would you say, who would you be with, etc.? Be visible and available to different parts of the organization.
- Create clear metrics that balance relationship and results for the organization. As a message makes it further into the daily operations narrative, it can be overshadowed by the message of pure results. If it is all about numbers, employees will think they have become one.
- Celebrate and promote stories of the brand throughout the organization. Everyone loves a good story and more importantly they want to be part of one.
- Stay true to who you are. Today, anyone can spot something that is inauthentic. If you try to be everything to everybody, then you are just moving your company into a popularity contest where you don’t really know who is loyal to your brand. If you hold true to your values, behaviors, and narrative, you may have some loss but what you gain will solidify and grow your brand ambassadors.
Building a culture can be difficult, but it does not mean that there isn’t a recipe you can follow. Always remember leaders drive culture, culture drives engagement, and engagement drives results.