I’ve learned over the years that to build workplaces that exemplify teamwork, and that requires our ability to create a work culture that values collaboration.
As a result, one of our 2018 accountability goals was to build stronger communication channels within our company by providing our teams with ongoing opportunities to learn about their team members’ experiences and successes in the field.
To foster this goal, we sent out weekly emails to our team laying out the fundamentals of a great company culture. These were not ‘my’ fundamentals as I did not develop then, but came from David Friedman, High Performing Culture founder and CEO.
David was a guest speaker in one of my monthly Vistage meetings and I came away with a desire to share what he had to say with our team. He shared with us 30 fundamental behaviors that define a unique culture that set us apart and make us exceptional in our field. For example:
DO WHAT’S BEST FOR THE CLIENT/CUSTOMER. In all situations, do what’s best, even if it’s to our detriment. There’s no greater way to build a reputation than to steadfastly do what’s right for others. Be client and customer focused. Every day.
DO THE RIGHT THING. ALWAYS. Even. When. Nobody. Is. Looking. Always tell the truth. If you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize, and make it right.
MAKE QUALITY A PERSONAL GOAL. Take pride in everything you touch and everything you do. Ask yourself, “Is this my best work?”
Create client loyalty by DELIVERING LEGENDARY CLIENT SERVICE. Make for extraordinary experiences by doing the unexpected and they will tell others about it.
CREATE A TONE OF FRIENDLINESS AND WARMTH. Every conversation, every phone call, every email, every letter, and every voicemail sets a tone and creates a feeling and a perception. Pay attention to every interaction and be sure you’re setting a tone of friendliness, warmth, and helpfulness. People will take note.
BE A FANATIC ABOUT RESPONSE TIME. People expect responses to their questions and concerns quickly, whether it is in person, on the phone, or by email. This includes simply acknowledging that we got the question and we’re “on it”, as well as keeping those involved continuously updated on the status of outstanding issues. While making sure you have the correct answer, rapid response is one of the easiest and best ways to stand out from the crowd.
CHECK THE EGO AT THE DOOR. It’s not about you. Don’t let your ego or personal agenda get in the way of doing what’s best for the team. Worrying about who gets credit or taking things personally is counterproductive. Make sure every decision is based solely on advancing team goals.
HONOR COMMITMENTS. There’s no better way to earn people’s trust than to be true to your word. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. This includes being on time for all phone calls, appointments, meetings, and promises. Allow extra time for surprises and delays, and don’t let these become excuses.
PRACTICE BLAMELESS PROBLEM-SOLVING. Apply your creativity, spirit, and enthusiasm to developing solutions, rather than pointing fingers and dwelling on problems. Identify lessons learned and use those lessons to improve our processes so we don’t make the same mistake again. Learn from every experience.
PRACTICE THE “HUMAN TOUCH”. Listen for, and pay attention to, the things that make people unique. Use handwritten notes, personal cards, and timely phone calls to acknowledge their specialness. Show people you care about them as individuals, rather than as transactions. Genuine compassion can’t be faked.
FIND A WAY. Take personal responsibility for making things happen – somehow, someway. Respond to every situation by looking for how we can do it, rather than explaining why it can’t be done. Be resourceful and show initiative.
GET CLEAR ON EXPECTATIONS. Create clarity and avoid misunderstandings by discussing expectations upfront. Establish mutually understood objectives and deadlines for all projects, issues, and commitments. Where appropriate, confirm your communication by asking others to repeat back their understanding to ensure total clarity and agreement.
LISTEN GENEROUSLY. Listening is more than simply “not speaking.” Be present and engaged. Quiet the noise in your head and let go of the need to agree or disagree. Create space for team members to express themselves without judgment. Listen with care and empathy. Above all, listen to understand.
SPEAK STRAIGHT. Speak honestly in a way that moves the action forward. Make clear and direct requests. Say what you mean, and be willing to ask questions, share ideas, or raise issues that may cause conflict when it’s necessary for team success. Address issues directly with those who are involved or affected.
COMMUNICATE TO BE UNDERSTOOD. Know your audience. Write and speak in a way that they can understand. Avoid using internal lingo, acronyms, and industry jargon. Use the simplest possible explanations.
GO THE EXTRA MILE. Be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the job…plus a little bit more. Take the next step to solve the problem. Even if it takes doing something that’s not in your job description, it’s the extra mile that separates the average person from the superstar. Be a superstar.
Overall, I feel this project has shown our team how committed we are to work/life satisfaction and relationships. Although not formally written, we were able to set new expectations and a higher value on better communications. And as I see new bonds building between colleagues living and working all over the US, I feel more empowered than ever when asked to speak about our company’s culture.
Please check back as we will be posting a few of the responses we received from our team.