Every leader wants their team to have a great culture. But it’s impossible to create or modify culture directly—you can only fuel culture through the organizational systems you create.
As Jay Lorsch and Emily McTague write in an issue of Harvard Business Review, “Culture isn’t something you ‘fix.’ Rather . . . cultural change is what you get after you’ve put new processes or structures in place to tackle tough business challenges like reworking an outdated strategy or business model.”
Let’s take a look at 4 effective ways leadership cultivates a culture of execution:
1. Embed Accountability as a Core Discipline. Accountability ensures that every employee, from the CEO to the frontline, makes clear commitments and keeps them. A transparent, company-wide strategy-execution system builds this discipline in a positive, rather than punitive, manner. (Your employees will actually welcome accountability.)
2. Engage Employees in the Plan. All businesses set goals, but in the vast majority of organizations, most employees feel out of the loop. The more your employees understand your strategic plan, the better equipped they are to make effective job-related decisions that make a positive impact toward your organization’s strategic goals. A robust strategy-execution system involves everyone in the game plan—turning a collection of individuals into a ‘team’ that is aligned with your plan.
3. Empower through Communication. Communicate your plan, goals, roles and responsibilities. This will drive more focused and value-added communication. You replace confusing updates and wild goose chases with meaningful conversations and a seemingly effortless information flow. This pays off culturally and financially:
as Towers Watson has shown, “Companies with high effectiveness in change management and communication are three and a half times more likely to significantly outperform their industry peers.”
4. Foster Trust Through Transparency. You create buy-in when you appropriately increase the level of transparency. Creating a culture where transparency is rewarded, builds trust to communicate likely outcomes and solve small problems before they become big problems – all of which builds trust within teams and the organization. Moreover, it leads to more predictable outcomes and a more efficient execution.
Growing a culture of execution, begins with leadership. By modeling these 4 attributes in day-to-day interactions, they begin to embed in your organization’s DNA. The alignment of organizational systems and the focus on accountability, involvement, communication and trust, places your organization in position to successfully execute and realize greater value faster.
Becky Vinton - talent strategist with over 20 years' experience improving the effectiveness of organizations and enhancing employee experience as a global human resources leader and business consultant. She holds an MBA Degree and several certifications including Human Capital Strategist by the Human Capital Institute.