28 Jun

5 key points on how to maintain positive corporate culture

Peter Drucker tells us that, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!” Quite simply, if your team is not engaged and is not willing to implement your business strategy, then you are fighting a losing battle. 

So how do you ensure your business culture is working towards driving the strategy and not eating it for breakfast?

Here are some pointers:

  1. Together with your team, define the culture you want to see and experience in your business. Culture is a living breathing element and should be given it’s own personal characteristics. For example your culture is inclusive, kind, fair and responsible. These could also be aligned to your companies values. 
  2. No one is bigger than the culture! This means that everyone must align themselves to the culture. No exceptions to the rule. For example, everyone greets visitors coming into the office, including the boss. A small gesture, but a powerful reflection of the business. 
  3. Hire for culture fit, not just for experience. You may be interested in hiring a dynamic sales and marketing manager for the business. They have years of experience and have worked for top performing companies all over the world. However, when they arrive for the interview, they are incredibly rude and dismissive to the receptionist. Do you think that that person will fit into your company culture and if they did start working for you, how would their behaviour affect the team culture? Ensure that culture fit is at the top of your interview and assessment criteria form. If ruthless and rude are what you are going for, then hire them on the spot!
  4. Everyone is responsible for maintaining the culture. If the team are vigilant and aware of the characteristics of the culture and the business values are on a daily basis consistently front and centre, then maintaining the culture is easy. However, if habits and behaviours not reflecting the business culture and values are allowed space and fester in the workplace without been checked, then by the time you are aware of what’s going on, you sit with a toxic culture. 
  5. Leaders drive culture. Yes, everyone is responsible for maintaining the culture. However, the business owner/managers/ leaders in the business are the key drivers. Remember, your team follows your lead and whatever behaviour and habits you condone will become norms in your business. You cannot delegate your role in culture maintenance, you are responsible at all times. 

Your business culture is developing and evolving on its own, every day, with cultural norms becoming embedded into the workplace wether you like it or not. Are you happy with the results or do you need to make change? 

16 Aug

Coaching is not a swear word!

“I would like you to coach some of my team members, but I don’t want anyone to know”.  Wow, was my first reaction when I heard this from a manager last week. Besides my initial  surprise this request also made me feel sad.

I liken this kind of request to Richie McCaw doing an under the table deal with his head coach for coaching received or Usain Bolt carrying out undercover sprint coaching in the dead of night, so no one would know. Should I add a dark cloak, dark glasses and large brimmed hats to my business attire?

What is wrong with openly acknowledging the fact that you or your team members need help to improve?

I look at many of my clients and I see bright, intelligent and driven human beings who  want more out of their lives, jobs or businesses. They are prepared to look at their challenges and creatively think of ways to overcome the hurdles in their lives. It takes a special kind of person to do this inner reflection and coaching should therefore be celebrated, not hidden away as if it were a dirty secret.

Unfortunately this attitude is entrenched into the culture of many  businesses. There is an underlying expectation that every employee needs to be a specialist in all disciplines and heaven help you if you ask for help.

I am sure there are many reasons for this mindset, but I can honestly say it’s not helping anyone. By ignoring the need for coaching it causes frustration for both the team member and the business. Instead of employees growing within a business through coaching and training, they get frustrated and leave.

Think about your own team or colleagues. What would coaching do for them or what could it do for you? If coaching was part of your company culture, how would your business benefit?



20 Oct

5 ways to improve mental health in the workplace

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Leadership seminar and one of the speakers was Jimi Hunt. Besides being responsible for constructing the worlds biggest water slide, sailing a lilo down the Waikato and simply enjoying doing random stuff, he is also an advocate of increasing mental health awareness.

What does mental health mean, why did it get my attention and why would it have such relevance within the business world? According to the World Health Organisation,  “Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

Looking at the world today, it is obsessed with physical health and wellness. Being fit, looking good and eating well. People have become far more open with admitting they are “unfit” or “eat badly” and on the receiving side people are more forgiving if they hear someone admit their unhealthy physical lifestyle status. This type of compassion and understanding displayed for physical health issues is not at the same level as that exhibited for mental health issues. Therefore, people don’t readily admit they are battling mentally, for fear of being told they are lazy, that they can’t handle the pressure or being alienated by their colleagues.  Therefore most people will rather remain silent, resign, become a disrupter or a disengaged employee, rather than admit to having mental health issues.

So think about your own mental health and then take a look at the people around you. How open and honest are you or the people that you work with about your own personal mental health and wellness?

What do your employee turnover figures and absenteeism statistics look like?

When your team members are at work how productive are they? Are they reaching their weekly and monthly targets and goals or do you have a case of presenteeism in your business? Your team are physically there, but not mentally focused and productive. Like a team of rowers without any oars. Completely useless.

To help with improving your team’s mental health, think about implementing the following into your business:

  1. One-on-one coaching initiatives
    • This allows for specific, measurable, realistic and attainable goals to be set and delivered at an agreed upon deadline.
    • The team member is then in control of their own goals and work flow
    • coaching provides a non-judgemental space for the team member to share their concerns and to then create and work through an action plan to improve their situation. By just allowing the team members to have a place to share, bounce off ideas and to “think” out loud will greatly assist in improving their mental health and well being.
  2. Creating  an “it’s okay to take a break” culture. Encourage your team to take their lunch breaks away from their work, to engage in mindfulness practises or any other relaxing and energy rejuvenating activity.
  3. Can you business allow for flexitime? In todays world this type of arrangement would positively assist the drive for attaining work/life balance.
  4. Improve communication within the workplace. Work off one strategic plan, one set of goals and one set of values. If everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet it dramatically lowers confusion amongst your team members, eliminates mixed messages and lowers frustration and anxiety levels.
  5. Understand that you have human beings in your business. They are not robots. Your team members have dreams, aspirations and feelings. Get to know them, learn to listen to them. Show your appreciation towards them and aim to build a strong corporate culture where mental health awareness is as important as the company athletics day.

Want to engage an external coach to work with your team. Contact me nicole@tikumu.co.nz for assistance.