Deep Truths About Culture

bigstock-Teamwork-Join-Hands-Support-To-116651945.jpg

(This is a guest post by Richard Fagerlin of Peak Solutions.)

The following four quotes are deep truths about culture. A proper understanding of each statement will help drive you, your team, and your organization to success. They also are – very tweetable.

Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.- RICHARD FAGERLIN

Looking at this quote, the one word that stands out for most leaders is RESULTS. However, if you want to impact your team or organization you must change focus from results to DESIGN. Both the good and the bad results you get are not on accident. You are perfectly designed to get the results you are getting.

If you want to change your culture, change the things that make it up. Your organization is designed to do exactly what it does.

GOOD: Evaluate your good results and determine how you got there. What of this design should you fight to keep? What do you need to replicate? What do you need to protect?

NOT SO GOOD: Evaluate the not so good results and determine how you are designed to get these results. What of the design needs changed or eliminated? What needs improved? Determine if you truly have a design failure or an execution failure. Don’t be too quick to change design. Evaluate first, make minor changes or tweaks and be committed to determining which design tweak makes a result change.

Disciplined people, in disciplined thought, taking disciplined action, create greatness.- JIM COLLINS

Good things rarely happen by accident. Those who are willing to take a purposeful, thoughtful and disciplined approach to life will achieve greatness. Focus on your highest point of contribution.

You might ask yourself, “If everything else stayed the same, what one change or area of focus would have the greatest impact right now?” Identify this one thing and commit to the disciplined pursuit of making it happen.

Discipline isn’t just about doing hard things or doing things the hard way. Discipline is about clarity, focus and intentionality. Discipline may come in the form of taking action and it may come in the form of being patient.

Culture is the sum of what you permit and what you promote. #CULTURE- RICHARD FAGERLIN

I don’t know who said this but it is true. Culture isn’t created by leaders or policies or visions or mission statements or general good will. Culture is a result of what leaders (and their teams) do.

What we do can be summed up in the things we permit (allow, support, create) and what we promote (encourage, expect, design). If you are not happy with the result of your current culture, you must examine what you are permitting and promoting and make changes to your if/then formula.

Culture isn’t something that you change, it is a result of everything that you do and it proves that what you put in is what you get out. If you want something different as an output you are going to have to change your inputs.

Don’t be upset with the results you are not getting from the work you are not doing.- RICHARD FAGERLIN

Culture is the beating heart and living soul of your team or your organization. You must nurture it and be intentional with it. If you haven’t defined what good looks like in terms of your ideal culture, how will you know if you are doing the right things to get there? Be a student of your team and of your organization. Determine the formal and informal things that account for your success and are responsible for your poor results. If you aren’t the one to focus on your culture then who will? If not now, then when?

_______

Interested in learning more about enhancing the culture within your organization? Join us on Tuesday, January 9th at 1:00 pm EST/10:00 am PST for a live 1-hour webinar with Richard Fagerlin called Building a Culture of Trust - the Cornerstone of Winning Teams! Click here to register for this exclusive event.

This webinar is valid for 1 PDC toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification.

This webinar has also been submitted to HRCI for credit and is pending approval.

Virtual Reality’s Place in Your Workplace

bigstock--172614083.jpg

When Nintendo released the Virtual Boy gaming console in 1995, that early virtual reality (VR) device flopped both commercially and critically. In the past couple of years, though, several affordable—and successful—VR devices (such as Oculus Rift, Google’s Daydream, Samsung’s Gear VR, and the VR One from optics giant Zeiss) have hit the consumer market. Right now, the most popular VR applications are games and movies. But just imagine how VR could revolutionize recruitment, which faces the never-ending challenge of finding candidates with the right skill sets in a shrinking applicant pool.

In this digital age, consumers do their product research online before making purchases in stores. Similarly, applicants research your company before walking into your office for an interview. Take that approach one step further: what if applicants could take a virtual tour of your company? Or use VR to “try out” for a day the jobs they’re applying for? Educated consumers make confident decisions. Giving applicants a chance to explore their potential jobs and work environments could translate into higher interview-to-hire ratios and improved employee retention.

Now think about the possibilities for using VR to streamline the recruitment and onboarding processes. Video interviews are now commonplace. But with glitchy technology and camera angles that often force participants to look at screens instead of at each other, the current “remote interview” experience still leaves much to be desired. Because the point of virtual reality is to deliver as immersive an experience as possible, the use of VR is used in remote interviews can help participants have “face to face” conversations and feel as though they’re actually in the same room together.

VR can also be a useful assessment tool. Written tests have been standard for screening candidates for decades, but they can’t measure everything. With VR-based assessments, companies can test applicants’ skills in areas such as customer service, driving, and project or team management. Instead of answering questions about how they would handle workplace challenges, candidates can—through a VR scenario—demonstrate how they would actually respond to them.

Developers are just starting to explore the many possibilities of VR. Once they look beyond entertainment and turn their full attention to recruitment- and hiring-oriented applications, that shift will very likely turn the business world on its head!

Less Conflict, More Productivity!

(This is a guest post by our friend, Cynthia Clay of NetSpeed Learning Solutions.)

bigstock-Businessman-experiencing-virtu-184887490.jpg

Is there more or less conflict when teams work virtually? You might think that once you work from home (or a remote office), there are fewer people to get on your nerves and therefore your work environment will be more peaceful and conflict-free. The reality is that conflict may be hidden for a time but it is still present. And in some cases, conflict may occur more easily because you can't see your coworkers and observe their activities.

Differences in style, personality, and work methods are present even when we work across geographic boundaries. A couple of years ago, when working with a virtual team, we had a virtual meeting to review a course we had designed. Two people on the client's team had spent many hours with an instructional designer working through a solid design process. At the review meeting by phone, a new person commandeered the discussion and proceeded to take the design apart, pointing out why she thought various elements were not important or not to her liking. She dominated the conversation which was frustrating to everyone involved. We received text messages in the background from the other members of the team apologizing for what was happening. The new team member didn't seem to understand her role, the process, or why she was asked to the meeting. Without being able to see our faces, because no one was on camera, she just went on a tear, literally tearing apart the course. When she finally ran out of steam, her coworkers thanked her for her input and the call ended.

If you examine the underlying causes of conflict in this example, four stand out: failure to clarify roles and responsibilities; lack of perspective or project history; personality or style; and finally, the inability to see each other over web cameras to read facial expressions and body language. This fourth cause is unique to working in a virtual environment. What organizations are beginning to recognize is that a project team's use of web cameras makes it possible to read non-verbal messages. That open channel of visual communication has the potential to minimize ambiguity, clarify communication, and reduce conflict. 

If you'd like to learn more about how to manage virtual teams, join us at our next one-hour, complimentary webinar, Virtual Leadership: Calibrate, Collaborate, and Celebrate, Thursday, November 16th at 1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT. Click here to register.

__________________________________________________________________________

Cynthia Clay is the President/CEO of NetSpeed Learning Solutions (based in Seattle Washington) and the author of Great Webinars: How to Create Interactive Learning that is Captivating, Informative, and Fun! as well as Peer Power: Transforming Workplace Relationships. Her company helps people increase their effectiveness in virtual environments.

This program has been submitted to HRCI to be pre-approved for 1 HR (General)  HRCI recertification credit hour.

 

Stay Relevant—or Fade Away

It’s easy for a business to get comfortable and rest on its laurels when the cash flow is great and the P&L statement skews toward the P. But history is full of stories about companies that became successful, grew complacent and failed to evolve to meet their customers’ changing needs and expectations, and then faded into oblivion. Remember when Blockbuster continued to open its own brick-and-mortar stores even as the video rental industry underwent a paradigm shift and customers fled to Netflix and to RedBox kiosks?

HR’s function is so vital and broad that in many ways it’s like a company within a company. Over the past decade or two, the HR department has become an invaluable contributor to an organization’s growth. With a role that has expanded well beyond hiring, onboarding, and personnel administration, HR has made itself indispensable. (For example, think of how much worse the impact of a senior executive’s sudden departure would be if an HR-driven succession plan weren’t in place.)

But that status isn’t permanent. As the old saying goes, “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.” And unless HR departments pay attention to those cautionary tales and learn from the mistakes of those once-dominant-but-now-failed companies, they are likely to follow the same course.

“People are our most important asset” is a claim that many companies make today and for good reason: it’s true. A company is only as good as its people. And an organization that isn’t able to attract and retain the best assets available will struggle to evolve and meet the changing needs of customers.

To help the company accomplish its goals—and maintain its own relevance—HR must learn how to cast a wide net that reaches across all areas related to talent acquisition. HR needs to think of itself as the sales and marketing department for the people who drive the company’s growth.

As you evaluate the role that HR plays in your own organization, look beyond the careers page on your website. Develop partner relationships with colleges and staffing companies, for example and help your recruiters keep their “feet on the street” by involving them in other departments where they can connect with talent.

Only by constantly searching for, discovering, and exploring new strategies for helping an organization improve its “most important asset” can HR fully fulfill its primary role—and guarantee its longevity in the business world.

A Staffing Firm's Toughest Hire!

When hiring to fill their clients’ positions, staffing firms usually have a clearly defined list of criteria to consider: skill set, salary range, availability—whatever their clients tell them to look for. By checking off the right boxes, staffers are able to match candidates to clients: “You want an employee who has X, Y, and Z? Here’s someone who fits the bill!”

It’s a different story when hiring for internal positions, though. When companies need to find their own staff, they often focus too much on cultural fit. Why is that? The answer, in a nutshell, is “comfort.”

People who work full time often spend more waking hours with their coworkers than with their spouses or partners. Forty (or more!) hours a week can seem like an eternity to someone who doesn’t like his or her colleagues. That’s why being comfortable with one’s coworkers can be so important. And that’s why companies that do their own hiring for their internal positions often put too much emphasis on whether a candidate is “likeable” or someone who’s “like us” or someone who would be fun to grab a beer with after work—and not enough emphasis on whether he or she has the attributes and skills that will contribute to the growth of the company.

It’s human nature, after all, to want to work among friends. Unfortunately, prioritizing “likeability” over “competence” can lead to trouble down the road. Applicants always bring their “A game” to interviews—but don’t always sustain it once they’re comfortable in their new jobs. Those hires can end up being disappointments, and sometimes actual disaster ensues when a company thinks it’s hired Dr. Jekyll but has actually hired Mr. Hyde.

There will always a subjective element to hiring. Any time there’s a cover letter, a personal statement, or an interview involved, some aspects of a candidate’s personality will seep through. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: the fact is, personality can indeed influence a person’s workplace performance (and ability to interact with coworkers—which can in turn affect their performance).

But personality should not be the main criteria for hiring. Rather, knowledge, skills, and potential are key components of a successful hire. Sometimes, though, companies that fill their own positions themselves have trouble seeing beyond the “do we want to work alongside this person?” question and can’t accurately evaluate a candidate’s skill set.

With their distance from the workplace, staffing firms often have the perspective—and objectivity—that companies lack. When marketing their services, staffers should highlight their ability to deliver candidates who are best for the company’s future success.