6 Insights for a Culture Change

February 27, 2019 by  

One of the greatest business challenges is effectively changing workplace culture. In order to do that, you must understand the underlying issues involved in order to make it happen. In addition, you need to answer all the questions and concerns that people may have and provide them with the compelling reasons why this change is going to be beneficial to everyone.

Here are some insights to consider when making a culture change:

Insight #1: Culture is the key to success and the key to the long term survival of any business
It is easier to decide on change than to get people to change. The more companies looked at, it seemed most were a bit like dysfunctional families. They had turf issues and trust issues, resistance to change, and it was very easy to do things in some companies, but it was almost impossible in others.
The greatest predictor of a company’s future is its culture. That culture is created and maintained by the leadership.

Insight #2 – The “Jaws of Culture” chew up most initiatives
Most companies invest in their strategy, initiatives, processes, and structure. All those issues have to go through the “Jaws of Culture”. The jaws are the dysfunctions of an organization:
• Are there turf issues or is it one company?
• Do people blame one another when things don’t work or are they accountable?
• Is there a positive spirit in the organization?
• Do people feel appreciated?

The primary Jaws of Culture in most organizations today are a lack of collaboration and agility and not much of a learning mindset for the kind of world we are in. No matter what the initiative is, those issues are going to chew it up, and those are the “Jaws of Culture”.

Insight #3: Creating a “one company” culture
Culture has really hit the tipping point because, in addition to the need for agility, most companies are very fragmented. Most big corporations today are a collection of acquisitions or geographies or business units or product lines; they aren’t one company. Truthfully, if they are going to survive, they really can’t afford to be fragmented today. In order to establish trust and rapport with the customer, control costs effectively and in the end just be successful, an organization needs to present itself with a united front. So, sadly there are very few fully integrated companies.

The answer is creating an allied or shared business model, and that only works with the right culture. It means creating a culture where decisions are made for the greater good with everybody having some common higher cause and being part of the process. Creating one company is critical today for big corporations to succeed.

Insight #4 – Diagnose the organization, Create your From-To model
Every organization has a culture. The only question is: Does it shape you or do you shape it?
In most organizations, people just step in and pick up behaviours of people who are there. That’s what culture is about, and yet you can systematically and intentionally shape a culture if you model it and commit to it.

Step 1 is to diagnose the organization. Given what you are facing, what are the behaviours you need and what are the behaviours you have? At this moment in time, in order to execute your strategies, what are those shifts you need to make happen and how will you make those shifts? That’s the diagnostic.

Step 2 is to then create a “From-To” model: Shift from being hierarchical to being more empowering. Shift from being siloed to being more collaborative with better lines of communication. Shift from being resistant to change to being very agile and open to change.

Insight #5 – Culture shaping needs to start at the top
Culture shaping definitely needs to start at the top of the organization. The principal issue here is that organizations become “Shadows of Their Leaders”. You affect your company so if you commit to the particular culture and model it, it will be more likely to be mirrored by those around you.

Insight #6 – Engineer ‘aha moments’ to shift thinking and behaviour
The challenge faced is how do you change habits of adults? Here is a thought: When we are young, we are like a flowing river, and then we freeze.” We get stuck in our habits. So how can be get ‘unstuck’? That only happens if we decide we want to change and then commit to doing what is necessary to make it happen.

Most models of change today are behavioural models. People define a set of values and then they communicate them. They talk to people about them. That doesn’t necessarily tend to change people. We all know we should do things that we don’t do.

So in the end, what does change people? It often takes some sort of wake up call to truly get someone’s attention and make them really consider embracing the change that is necessary. So how do we create those “aha” moments???

Here is an example: Do you remember when your mom told you if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all? So, that’s an underlying belief you likely espouse.
Then, you can have an insight that says, “As a leader, if you work for me, my job is to help develop you so that you can fulfill your potential. In fact, I need to show you that I appreciate your contributions and provide constructive feedback so that you can grow. If I do those things, I will be a good leader and be of benefit to everyone and the organization.
So, if you can have that shift in mindset through an epiphany, and change that behaviour, then you are going to really execute differently going forward. So, the next step in the process is to “unfreeze.” In other words, in order to make people want to change, you must offer reasons to change their mindset and allow your people to be able to accept the new idea and then make that their new mindset.

In the end, this mostly boils down to how effective the leadership of any organization is. The better they are at communicating with impact, honesty, clarity and influence, the more likely they are to have a great culture and to be able to affect change in their organization as it is necessary.

4 Steps to Building Trust, Respect, and Rapport

February 12, 2019 by  

Anytime you’re communicating with other people, your ability to create rapport quickly is going to be the key to your success.
Building rapport is all about establishing a relationship with the person or people with whom you are speaking. Whether you are in a one-on-one sales conversation, speaking to a small group, or speaking to a large group, it is essentially the same basic techniques. If there is a wall between you and that other person, then it is your job is to remove that wall.

Here is an acronym for a technique to remove that wall: WALL
W: Watch
You must be very observant of the people with whom you are communicating; their surroundings, who they are with. That will be able to give you your first indications of how you may want to open your discussion.
When you are speaking with a group of people, you need to determine who the leader of the group is, who the center of influence is, who the most social person is, who likes to have fun, and who the more analytical person is. The reason for figuring all this out is because you will need to approach each of those people differently.
If you are meeting with a prospect or a client in their home, look around the home to see if you can find some clues that could be used as conversation starters, things that might create some common ground between you and them. If they are coming to your office, observe them carefully to see what they are looking for, what they pay attention to or what they seem to be looking at. This will help you to gain some insight into how to begin your discussion.

A: Ask
Next, based on your observations, your initial interaction with that person will bring in to play what you noticed. The best approach is to ask questions as this is the single best way to begin establishing trust, respect, and rapport, the key ingredients for building successful, meaningful, long-term relationships. When you ask questions you show a genuine interest in what they want, what they need, and what their interests are, so this will encourage them to slowly start opening up.

Here are some questions to consider:
1. What’s the biggest challenge you face in your business?
2. What brought you to our business today?
3. What type of product or service are you seeking?
4. What types of products have you already tried?
5. Whose services do you currently use?
These examples are nonthreatening and definitely not pushy. While you are questioning them, maintain your observations and they may offer up some cues or indicators that could guide you as you expand your explorations on how to move forward.

L: Listen
It is imperative to truly listen to what people are saying. So many sales and marketing professionals ask all the right questions, but they don’t really listen to the answers. Employ active listening, where you actually summarize back to the speaker what you did hear to show them that you respectfully listened to them.
This is another step in the establishment of those meaningful, long-lasting relationships that we want to build and maintain with our customers. By combining your listening skills with your watching skills, you will be able to determine if the questions you are asking are actually starting to build that trust and rapport.

L: Learn
Learning how to build rapport is means trying different approaches, watching, and listening, as well as observing the end result. When you do that you can learn from your time with the person and if necessary, can change your approach the next time you meet with them.
There is no one right way to build the all-important trust and rapport with other people, however, everyone who is in sales, marketing and speaking will likely agree that you must do it. So by learning what works for you and learning what works with your audience, your customers, and/or your clients, you will become more effective.

 So: Watch for clues.
     Ask powerful questions.
     Listen carefully to the answers that are given to you.
     Learn from every interaction.

In the end, if you become a good student of building trust, respect, and rapport, then over time you enjoy more success and a greater ability to generate those outcomes much more easily and quickly. Those skills are essential to success in sales, marketing and people managing in general, so you will definitely benefit from the skills in all aspects of your life.