Culture: Key to Performance

Recently, I had the opportunity to address a group of HR leaders on how to improve decision-making within their organizations. (Thank you RWHRMA, Masters Series participants!) The premise of our time together was that better decision-making translates into superior performance and that there are definite ways to improve the quality of decisions. Most of our workshop was used to define the components and use of emotional intelligence (EQ). In order for employees–and managers/executives–to consistently exhibit high EQ, valuing and engaging others is a key.

A focus on others and their needs is a result of purposeful culture development. Paul Spiegelman, founder and CEO of The Beryl Companies, writing for Inc. on June 6, described Beryl’s “10 Cs of Culture:” 

1. Core Values

..when we implemented our values strategy at Beryl about 10 years ago, I began to see how they guided everyday decision-making and how employees referenced them in meetings.  I came to realize they are essential guideposts when developed, communicated, and executed in a consistent manner…We start every big meeting with a conversation about values and tell stories about how our coworkers live by those values on a daily basis.  

2. Camaraderie 

It’s about getting to know colleagues not just as colleagues, but what they’re like outside the office.  To do that, Beryl hosts dress-up days, parties, games, and events all the time..We include not only employees, but also their families.  We publish a bi-monthly full-color magazine called Beryl Life that is sent to the homes of co-workers.  

3. Celebrations 

You can’t underestimate the importance of recognizing your team..we developed a program we call PRIDE (Peers Recognizing Individual Deeds of Excellence).  This allows coworkers to recognize others for living up to Beryl’s core values.  

4. Community

Part of the fabric of a successful company culture is connecting with and giving back to the local community.  

5. Communication

I hold quarterly Town Hall meetings, which includes six meetings over two days..I also have informal “chat and chews” where I bring in lunch for 12 to 15 people and just ask one question–How’s it going?–to get the conversation started.  

6. Caring

Show your employees you genuinely care about them in the totality of their lives..Any manager can explain a situation on an internal website that identifies a coworker, and lists what’s going on (birth, death, injury, wedding, among other things).  That submission generates an email to me that is my trigger to send a personal notecard, make a phone call, or visit someone in a hospital.  

7. Commitment to Learning

Show your employees you’re committed to their professional growth. This can be done in small, incremental steps. 

8. Consistency

Culture is based on traditions..One-time efforts to improve the culture will feel disingenuous.  

9. Connect

Don’t isolate yourself at the top.  Connect with people at all levels of your company.  Get out of your comfort zone.  

10. Chronicles

Does everyone in your organization know how the company started?  Do they know the personal stories of the founders and what led them to build a sustainable business?  People want to know they are part of something special and unique.  

Do you get the feel that, at Beryl, you could fit in and feel engaged in the key conversation(s) that contribute to its success? What about your company? Do you have a culture that is engaging? If not, what can you do about it? What’s holding you back? Talk with your peers and come up with a plan, then implement it!

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