Building a Business Village Positive Culture

What is a Positive Business Culture?

Any Ideas? Do you have One?

I keep hearing and reading about “How to build a positive (or drop in your favourite adjective) culture.

I also hear the answer described in the cliche of, “It’s simple, but not easy”.

I would say that it’s both simple and easy. And at it’s core is open and honest communication.

The problem starts when we have a difficult conversation with a difficult employee that doesn’t go well. We classify them as toxic.

I say that the problem started well before then and suggest you missed the behavioural change.

Why are they toxic? Were they toxic when you hired them? If so, how did you miss that? Or what did you do to change them into something toxic?

A Leader looks at themselves first to see what was done to create the culture.

I see the symptoms being blamed, when in fact looking for the cause is a far better use of energy.

Let me say that I disagree with the notion that there are toxic employees. I would prefer to classify them as unhappy with their situation and feel they are stuck.

I also acknowledge that some people are just mean and horrible and regardless of how they are treated they are just not nice. So you also need a strategy for these people. But I’m going ahead here assuming you employed good people, and there attitude is different to when they started.

But could it be that the Leader is not listening? Are clear boundaries and expectations being set? Do you assume the employee has all the knowledge, skills and experience to do the job?

The Business Village Culture

First let’s start with Why you want to create a Positive Culture.

The first and not always obvious one is it saves money.

Businesses that have a low turnover of staff have a higher level of profit because there are fewer disruptions to the consistency and continuity of services.

They run more efficiently because there is less down time ‘fire fighting’ meaning there is more productive time generating an output.

The cost of hiring, onboarding, training a new employee, then firing, and doing it all again is exhausting and costly. There have been many studies conducted that show replacing an employee can cost anywhere between 25% and 230% of the Total Salary. And that assumes you get it right the first time. 

When you have a happy family, friends, and social environments, things run relatively smoothly.

A business has the same dynamics, because it includes humans. 

So why don’t we just get rid of humans? Good question 99 (for the Maxwell Smart aficionados).

Do you love the experience when you ring a Customer Service Help Line and go through the multitude of voice prompts as they ‘value your patronage’ and ‘will direct you to the right person’.

That’s why you don’t want to get rid of humans. 

So if you have happy employees, it flows that you have happy customers. And when you have happy customers, they want to use you and are happy to pay a premium for a quality service. That turns into more profits. 

With more profits you can reinvest into your ‘greatest asset’, being your people. For example, they can have time off to improve their skills or pursue a passion that will improve your business.

The cost of getting it wrong

Then there is the cost associated with getting it wrong.

Let’s call this the emotional disruptive, upset and unhappy employee. 

When the ‘unrecognisable employee’ turns up the negative impact of this ‘new persona’ is not isolated to your relationship with them. It typically involves their BFF at work. They scowl and whinge to anyone who listens, and worst, can upset a customer with their poor attitude. 

But why? I hear the answer is you need to be “better at managing the behaviour and performance” or a version of this. Buy this program (sorry the cynic just keeps showing up). 

My thoughts are that there’s nothing wrong with you, but if you are having continual behavioural conversations with your employees, your fighting the wrong battle. 

The key, like most things, is understanding. To understand you need to listen. To listen you need to be communicating. To communicate effectively you need to be asking questions and be curious. 

Like an annoying 5 year old that always asks questions like, What’s that? Why does it do that? How long will it take? They walk away from that conversation with understanding and knowledge.

That’s your goal as a Leader – to have as much understanding and knowledge about your team as possible. 

Each conversation is a deposit in the Business Village Trust Bank. Your employee gets to know you too. They see how you care. That you are Interested not Interesting. 

So when it comes time to have that difficult conversation where their behaviour is in question (and they always happen) you can be curious about what’s changed?

You can have that difficult and uncomfortable conversation because you both feel safe. They know you are asking to understand, not criticise, and you know the employee is a good person, dealing with a challenge. 

In some cases it may be that you are the ‘thing’ that’s changed and their behaviour is a response to that. 

You, and they, can be honest and talk about what’s changed.

It’s as simple as that. 

If your first conversation with a 5 year old was you speaking sternly to them, I guarantee all you’ll get are tears. Same principle having difficult conversations with your staff.

Interested in knowing more about how to create a Business Village Culture.

Contact Steve Sandor for a complimentary 30 Minute discussion

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