Episode 54

54. It's The Little Things That Cause Culture Drift

Today I want to talk with you about the word “drift.”

Here in the midwest we have snow drifts in the winter that can be both beautiful and dangerous on the roads.

If you’re into motorsports and racing - especially the virtual type - then the word drift is exciting and fun as you create a controlled high speed slide around corners.

But what happens when drift occurs in your business? I’m specifically speaking about culture drift.

And that’s the topic for today’s episode, so let’s get started.

Let’s talk about the impact culture has on reaching your objectives and goals.

First, your organizational culture is a set of shared beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that either enhances how you get work done… or gets in the way of how you get work done.

Don’t miss this… 

Your culture exists whether you’re paying attention to it or not, and just because you’ve done a workshop or two about company culture and your core values are on the wall, you will not have lasting results. 

None of those things will ensure that your employees are doing exceptional work on the most significant things. 

Culture isn’t just something you discuss in meetings. 

And, culture isn’t created because you have potlucks in the summer, team building games, Food Truck Fridays, or because you added a game room with foosball  air hockey and table tennis.

Now don’t get me wrong, those are NOT bad things. But they could be bad things when they take priority over improving the working conditions such as replacing slow computers, addressing quality or safety issues, or holding purposeful meetings so employees know where they stand. 

We have to remember that culture is something you DO daily. It’s a collection of attitudes, beliefs and actions that define…

HOW you serve your customers;

HOW you help employees grow;

HOW you make strategic decisions;

HOW you develop products and go to market;

HOW you attract, hire and retain people;

In short, your culture sets the expectations for everything you do in business.

How many of you have a statement on your company’s website or job postings that states something like, “We pride ourselves in consistently delivering outstanding customer service?”

What you may not realize is just how lofty that statement actually is!

You’re really setting the bar high by using words such as consistently outstanding. 

Now I’m not suggesting you don’t use those words, but what I am suggesting is that a culture that supports those words is a company that makes that a reality instead of ‘good intention.’

That means you and everyone in the company understands what it takes to deliver a consistent and outstanding experience for your customers.

You will need to define, communicate and constantly teach the behaviors that lead to that desired outcome.

This is the point when most culture initiatives fail.

If you aren’t defining and clearly communicating your expectations it’s impossible and unethical to hold people accountable to them. 

What happens next is what I’m referring to as culture drift.

About the Podcast

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Lead Thru Values
A leadership podcast that discusses the connection between company culture and workplace performance.

About your host

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James Mayhew

James Mayhew helps businesses create high performance workplaces through his Culture and Execution Mastery System, which gets exceptional people to do excellent work on the most important things. Based in the Midwest, he is a Certified KeyneInsights Coach and Certified Human Behavioral Specialist with a values-based approach to workplace optimization.

James is the host and creator of “Lead Thru Values,” a leadership podcast that discusses the connection between company culture and workplace performance. When James was Chief Culture Officer for one of the country’s fastest-growing privately held companies, he was responsible for the company’s strategic culture initiative that led to the organization being recognized as a top workplace in the Midwest.