Building Cohesive Culture
The last few years have been plagued with disruptions to our standard working environment. The pandemic with shutdowns followed by The Great ReCALIBRATION (aka The Great Resignation), mass work from home followed by mass forced return to the office. Organizations struggling to find a new normal in an increasingly competitive job market. Building cohesive culture fell by the wayside.
So, when we look ahead to this new year, what should organizational leaders focus on in 2023?
In 2023, businesses should first and foremost get their culture right. In my line of work, that means infusing COHESION into the work culture and setting culture as a strategy. When leaders begin to understand that employees are their most important asset, they will have a greater chance to survive and thrive. They can stop being a hopeful dreamer that everyone will magically get along because they have a company ping-pong table or offer beer on Friday afternoon. Leaders must first focus attention and resources on the employee, then the organization, and finally the consumer. When this priority alignment is met, the business has set a transformative mindset into motion, ensuring performance and high-level engagement.
In essence, a cohesive culture is not just a desirable element; it’s a strategic imperative. It sets the foundation for success, ensuring that a business not only survives but thrives in the ever-evolving landscape of the future. By focusing on culture, leaders align their priorities, fostering an environment where employees are not just valuable assets but integral partners in the journey to success.
Having a cohesive culture means that organizations know how to take care of people. They understand that culture reflects the organization’s customs, rituals, traditions, language, and symbols. All in all, culture should be available for everyone within the organization regardless of whether they are under the same roof or not. My simple message to leaders … “Culture is built from how you treat people, not the treats you give them.”
Align with Employee Needs: Successful businesses recognize that a strong culture aligns with the needs and expectations of their employees. It’s not just about superficial perks; it’s about creating an environment where people feel valued, included, and supported in their professional growth and well-being.
Prioritize Employee Well-Being: A thriving, cohesive culture is one that prioritizes the well-being of employees. It’s about providing resources, support, and programs that promote physical and mental health. When employees feel cared for, they are more likely to be engaged and productive.
Customize Culture for Remote Work: With the rise of remote work, it’s essential to adapt and customize your culture to accommodate different work environments. Ensure that your culture remains strong, regardless of whether employees are in the office or working remotely.
Cultural Inclusivity: Culture should be inclusive and accessible to all employees, irrespective of their location. Create a culture that celebrates diversity and fosters a sense of belonging for everyone.
Lead by Example: Leaders must exemplify the desired cultural values and behaviors. Their actions and decisions set the tone for the entire organization. When leaders prioritize culture and demonstrate their commitment to it, it becomes ingrained in the company’s DNA.
Continuous Improvement: Culture is not static; it should evolve and improve over time. Regularly seek feedback from employees and make necessary adjustments to ensure that the cohesive culture remains vibrant and relevant.
By investing in your organization’s cohesive culture, you not only create a better workplace for your employees but also lay the foundation for sustainable success and high-level engagement. Culture is a strategic asset that sets the stage for performance, unity, and a thriving future.
When cohesion is present in an organization, it creates an environment where people feel that they are part of something special. In a Cohesion Culture™, all employees:
- Have this sense of being included (Belonging)
- Understand their job has meaning and purpose (Value)
- Participate in creating outcomes that benefit many and not just a few (Mutual Commitments)
But, this process is not for the faint of heart. It takes determination, dedication, and rigor to be a transformative leader that motivates, influences, and enables others to be successful. A leader of transformation focuses on others first, then self. It’s not martyrism. No heroes or self-sacrificing behavior is required. Simply a mindset that believes in helping others first in the pursuit of achievement and success. In the end, the transformative leader will take care of themself, but not before thinking of the needs of those he or she serves.
Looking ahead, organizations need to continue to grow, improve and look for ways to be innovative. Quite simply, innovation is the process of solving a need. It doesn’t have to be crafty, clever, or sassy. Innovation must solve some need. Otherwise, if you are clever, crafty, and sassy in what you do and there isn’t a need involved, then generally, it is called “art.”
By fostering a cohesive culture of innovation, organizations can ensure that they are not just solving immediate needs but also preparing for the future. It’s about continuously seeking ways to evolve, adapt, and remain competitive in an ever-changing business landscape.
For me, you cannot be a victor of your future if you are held captive by your past. The past serves as a reminder of what we have accomplished. The past is the sum of all that we come to know. But, one cannot get to the future from the past. You get to the future from the present. You must be willing to learn and grow. If you only depend on what you already know to get to the next place, then your journey is fairly limited, and realistically, you may not make any progress at all. To get to the future available for each of us, we must be willing to try new things, be receptive to new ideas, and embrace that not everyone will look or think as we do.
I encourage leaders to set expectations for 2023 and beyond using this philosophy:
“Make culture a strategy and it will find something else to eat for lunch.”
For more insight on this topic, please refer to these blog posts:
- Does Your Culture Excel in Truth, Doing & Simplicity?
- Make culture a strategy and it will find something else to eat for lunch.
- F.A.I.R. PLAY FOR TALENT
For leadership principles that can be applied today, click here to subscribe to Cohesion Corner™ with Dr. Troy! Guiding leaders to retain talent by creating cohesive spaces where people belong, have value, & share in mutual outcomes.