Begin to change the culture with weekly manager’s meetings
After a few months of working in an organization and strategizing with The Boss I begin to know the business in a more intimate manner. At first, I want to understand the operations of the business to determine if the organization has a sustainable business model to build upon. I also begin to have extended conversations with the employees, beginning with the department heads and then the rank and file employees. By doing so I begin to understand the company culture. I determine if the culture is a healthy culture or if the culture is hindering the business in any way. I often find company cultures to be either one of accountability or one of enablement. If the culture is one of accountability, it is much easier to accomplish The Bosses goals for the business. If the culture is one of enablement, I often find an atmosphere of blame and mistrust between The Boss, management, and the employees.
If a culture of enablement exists, change is necessary. Change of responsibilities and often a change of staff. Everyone is encouraged to accept the changes The Boss and I implement as we move towards a culture of accountability. This change can result in some employees selecting to leave the organization, mostly because they are the ones who are enabled and often are protective of their “entitled status”. The Boss must support the change, or the change will not be successful. If The Boss is hesitant to accept and adapt to the change, I often negotiate a time limit for the change to show results and ask The Boss to use newly established data and metrics when determining if the process is working.
As the culture begins to change (and it will) the department managers begin to see their efforts pay off and their employees thrive in the new culture, resulting in more positive attitudes among employees. This is not a quick fix and can take some time, The Boss must understand this. I explain this process to The Boss by using this example. Changing a culture from one of blame and mistrust to one of encouragement and teamwork is slow going. It is like turning an ocean liner. It is slow going until the vessel is pointed in the new direction and then it can pick up speed and gains momentum with little effort. The Boss is often used to making quick decisions and expecting fast results. This is akin to The Boss riding a jet ski and doing circles around our ocean liner. Having the patience to realize the benefits of the teams’ efforts is the most challenging for The Boss. I can assure The Boss that patience will pay off in increased profits, resulting in increased owner’s equity.
In order to re-enforce the changes, weekly manager’s meetings are established and in these meeting, The Boss has ten minutes to give an overview of the company, this stops The Boss from dominating the conversations. This meeting is not for The Boss but for improved communications and team building between department managers. Next, each department manager has ten minutes to give an overview of their department. They will be expected to report on; what’s coming for the week, what’s working well, and what’s frustrating them. The Boss encourages the team to suggest solutions to the various problems, always stating that the department manager must make the final decision as he or she will be responsible for the results. This will increase communications and begin to get the team working together. Celebrating small wins is made easy in this type of environment. Problems are shared and solutions are discussed amongst the managers. The individual managers begin to use the management team as their advisory team, helping each other develop solutions to their problems or challenges. I have seen this happen and when it works it can drive profits at an exponential rate.