Culture Audit

trend analysisWhat metrics to you scrutinize frequently? If you’re like most leaders, you pay attention to performance metrics – quotas, service ratings, market share, profits, and the like. What you probably don’t have metrics for – but you need metrics for – is the quality of your team or company’s culture.

To create high performing, values-aligned teams, leaders must spend as much time and energy on driving workplace trust, dignity, and respect as they do on driving results.

The reality is that very few leaders around the globe have been asked to do this. And, too few leaders have had role models that did this.

The great news is that leaders can learn how to create safe, inspiring work environments. With the right structure, effective modeling, and coaching to alignment, leaders can shift their team’s culture from dull and frustrating to engaged and inspiring.

My new online Culture Effectiveness Assessment can help. The CEA survey is based on the concepts in my latest book, The Culture Engine.

The CEA compares your team’s (or department or division or company’s) work environment to the best practices of high performing, values-aligned workplaces. The assessment gathers team leader and team member responses quickly and reliably. Results are presented in an electronic profile that explains how well your team culture ranks on five “culture health” levels: dysfunction, tension, civility, acknowledgment, or validation (the highest level).

The CEA includes ten sections with five questions each. Each question is rated on a six-point scale. The sections include practices like workplace attractiveness and safety, the leader’s personal purpose, values, and leadership philosophy, clarity of the team’s purpose, specificity of the team’s values and valued behaviors, accountability for values, values feedback, and hiring for values.CEA-1

The snapshot at right shows the CEA score summary page for a real leader and her team members. This page presents scores on the overall assessment for the team leader (189 out of 300 possible points – 50 questions worth a maximum of six points each) and an average score for all team members (181). These two scores fall into the “civility” culture health level – below what is desired. There is a line on the graph at the 250 point mark, which is where the “validation” level begins.

This graph also shows the lowest and highest individual team member scores (166 and 196, respectively). This particular team has very consistent team member scores, all in the “civility” level. I’ve seen teams with much wider responses, from dysfunction to acknowledgment levels within one team.CEA-3

The profile presents summary scores by section plus response detail for each question. The snapshot at right shows this team leader and her five team members’ responses to the question “Team members are role models of the formalized team purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals in every interaction and in all plans, decisions, and actions.” Desired scores are at the 5-6 level. The team leader scores it a 2 and the average team member score is a 3. There is clearly an opportunity for this team on these practices.

The CEA profile enables leaders and teams to prioritize the work to be done to improve the quality of their work environment. Clients that embrace these best practices enjoy consistent increases in employee engagement, customer service, and profits.

Don’t guess about the health of your team or company’s culture. Get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

My latest book, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © Paulista – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Positive Proof that Culture Works

Group of co-workers standing in office space smiling (I’m a culture geek. I’m bold with leaders, telling them they’re leaving money on the table if their team or department or company culture isn’t based on trust, respect, and dignity.

My ideas are not always embraced with open arms! There is a natural cynicism about culture change. Leaders are used to dealing with facts and hard data. So, I share the facts and hard data about the benefits my culture clients have enjoyed.

One client came to us because of low employee engagement survey scores. They scored 32 out of 100 possible points, the worst score of the eight business units owned by their corporate parent. This plant’s senior leadership team embraced our culture process fully and promptly.

They defined values with observable behaviors so everyone – leaders and employees – understood what the rules were for effective daily interactions. They increased performance accountability across their production lines. They measured how well leaders lived the organization’s new valued behaviors. They praised leaders who modeled their values, coached leaders who struggled, and redirected leaders who didn’t model or manage to the new values.

Within six months, conflicts, absenteeism, re-work, and grievances dropped by 60 percent. Within twelve months, efficiency had improved by over 40 percent. Customers reported amazement at the “new service attitude” that company staff displayed.

When the next “all company” employee engagement survey came around twelve months later, their plant scored 62 out of 100 points! Theirs was the biggest gain in engagement scores of any of business unit in their company system. And, their plant earned the top score across the organization.

At the eighteen-month mark, employee engagement had grown 45 percent, customer service rankings had grown 45 percent, and hard dollar profits gains surpassed 35 percent.

Plant leaders gave all the credit to every leader and employee’s alignment to their organizational constitution.

Another client, a seven-state region of a large retailer, embraced our culture change process because the new senior leader’s vision wasn’t taking hold fast enough.

Joel, the region’s senior leader, believed and preached “People with Passion drive Performance!” Joel’s messaging and coaching in his first 18 months in the position helped some store managers “get it.” However, most store managers did not.

Twelve months after creating their organizational constitution and managing to it (with our guidance), Joel’s region enjoyed 40 percent gains in employee engagement, 40 percent gains in customer service, and 30 percent gains in profits.

Another client, a manufacturing plant in the Midwestern USA, discovered a fabulous peripheral benefit to their organizational constitution. Their small town suffered flash flooding one spring, which caused tremendous damage in their community. Families were evacuated with little time to gather necessities.

Within hours, plant employees banded together to provide food, clothing, and transportation for their neighbors. They volunteered hundreds of hours for the Red Cross at the evacuation center. They secured funds from the plant’s parent company to rebuild homes and businesses in the following months.

The plant manager said in the 40 years that plant had been operating in that town, no one had ever seen employees rally so quickly and confidently to serve their fellow community members. Some of the employees who volunteered to help had also suffered significant losses in the flooding. “Our values and behaviors didn’t just apply inside the plant. These employees made sure they applied in our town, too,” she said.

The reality is that your culture drives everything that happens in your organization, good or bad. If you’re only paying attention to results, you’re leaving money on the table.

My latest book, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

How healthy is your team or company culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Photo © Monkey Business – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Mindfulness Alternative

5107qxkp9uL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This week features an interview with Scott Eblin, executive coach and best-selling author of The Next Level. Scott just released his latest book, Overworked and Overwhelmed.

What prompted you to write Overworked and Overwhelmed? Who should read this book?

Almost all of the leaders and professionals I work with as a coach tell me that life has gotten crazier each year for the past six or seven years. Most of my work has focused on helping executive leaders and other professionals strengthen their presence. It dawned on me a few years ago that demonstrating presence actually requires being present – physically, mentally and emotionally. This book is about the simple tools and plans leaders and professionals can use to be more present. It’s for anyone who is trying to do more and more with less and less and who can’t imagine life without 24/7 connectivity.

What message(s) do you hope readers take away?

Because of the demands on them today, most professionals are in a state of chronic fight or flight. That has a huge negative impact on their productivity, quality of life and their health. This book will help readers learn how to mindfully counteract that fight or flight response. The book helps them realize that they’re not going to change anything by doing more of what they’ve been doing. Working more hours isn’t the answer. The purpose of the book is to help readers identify and try simple mindfulness routines that will make a big difference in their quality of life.

What is mindfulness? What role does it play in work/life balance?

There are lots of definitions of mindfulness. For me, mindfulness equals awareness plus intention. If you can be more aware of what’s going on around you and inside you then you can be more intentional about what you’re going to do or not do in any given situation. I’m not a fan of the phrase work/life balance because I think balance is just a snapshot in time. You might attain it for a brief moment and then it evaporates into the ether. I encourage my clients to think about work/life rhythm more than balance. Mindfulness helps people find their optimal rhythm.

How have you incorporated mindfulness into your own life and what impact has it had on you personally?

Not to be overly dramatic but mindfulness has saved my life. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009 and had a lot of serious side effects from the disease for two years after that. My wife encouraged me to try yoga to help manage my MS. Yoga, meditation and mindful eating have helped me not just survive but thrive with MS. Even with a full calendar of coaching, speaking, traveling, I do some combination of headstands, handstands and arm balances pretty much every day. Not bad for someone who had trouble walking around the block five years ago!

What advice would you offer for someone who is burned out?

Take a break. Give yourself a night, a day or a weekend away from email and the rest of the work. Relax a little. After you’ve gotten a little rest, take some time for self-reflection by asking yourself two questions: What am I really trying to do here? And, how do I need to show up to do that? Your answers will help you reconnect with the deeper purpose of your work.

How did you do your research?

My research is from interviews with over fifty mindful executives, professionals and thought leaders; an extensive review of the current academic research; my experience with my own clients; and my own experience in applying the principles of mindfulness to managing a chronic disease. One thing that really stood out for me in the interviews I conducted is that the highest capacity people know and understand that the only person who’s going to take care of you is you. Mindfulness begins with simple steps but you have to take those steps.

What do you think? Add your thoughts and insights in the comments section below.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution.

Photo © The Eblin Group. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Your Brand On Purpose

personal brand in wood typeThis week I jumped at the chance to interview Dan Schawbel, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success. Dan is an expert on personal branding – and I think every one of us needs to be intentional about our personal brand.

Why is personal branding so important today?

Everyone is trying to stand out online and offline and the best way to do that is by establishing your personal brand. Your brand identifies you and positions you for specific opportunities that align to your strengths and interests. In the workplace, 65% of managers are looking to hire and promote subject matter experts. Online, if you aren’t positioned as a niche expert, then you won’t appear high in search engines and will be passed over. With so many people having online profiles and websites now, the impact of branding becomes much more important.

How have workplace rules changed – and how can people take advantage of the new rules?

First, your personal life is now public. Anything you publish about yourself, or that other people publish online about you, is visible to your co-workers and can be used against you. Second, you need to effectively work with people of different generations, including Gen X and Baby Boomers and Gen Z, sometimes all at once. Third, the one with the most connections wins because social currency is more important than anything else. The stronger your network at work, the more successful you will be.

Millennials as a generation have a less-than-stellar reputation as being “entitled” or “not team players.” What are the facts about this generation and their contributions to work & society?

In the study I did for the book with American Express, we found that millennials have a positive view of their managers, while their managers have a negative view of them. Their managers view them as entitled, lazy, and not focused. Millennials, compared to older generations, want companies to give back to society, not just make money. They embrace equality, diversity and team collaboration. While some millennials might be stereotypical, others are already starting businesses or working extremely hard to improve their work culture and performance.

Is personal branding primarily for millennials or might other generations benefit from promoting themselves?

Personal branding is for everyone, whether you’re a student or a CEO or a musician. The main premise behind personal branding is to become the best at what you do for a specific audience. In order to do that, we have to think like entrepreneurs. We have to figure out what makes our “product” different in the market and then capitalize on that. Branding yourself helps you stand out in the job market or build your business.

What is a first, easy step that someone can take to promote themselves in their workplace today?

The first step to promoting yourself in the workplace is mastering your current role. If you aren’t an expert at what you were hired to do and have proved your worth, then you are unable to expand your role at work. Once you become an expert in your role, people will take notice and your value will increase. In addition, people will be more likely to trust you with additional work and if you have a great idea, you might be able to test it out. By becoming the expert, you are trusted and are able to further build a brand at work.

What do you think? Add your thoughts and insights in the comments section below.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © Marek/Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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How is Your Culture Engine Running?

share_12What critical success factors do you monitor closely in your business? What “select few” metrics do you watch carefully to ensure your organization’s health?

Most leaders I have worked with tell me they primarily watch performance metrics. Customer service rankings come in a distant second.

Both of those factors are important. Organizations must be profitable and must have loyal, happy customers.

Over three decades of research and experience have taught me that there is a third factor that deserves a leader’s focus and attention: the degree of workplace inspiration in your organization.

The fact is that the health of your organization’s culture – the extent to which your work environment consistently treats team members with trust, dignity, and respect – has a huge impact on team performance and customer service.

The culture of your team (or department or division or plant or region or whole company) is the engine that drives your team’s success – or it’s lack of success.

Unfortunately, most leaders do not know how to proactively manage their team’s culture. They’ve never been asked to do that. Most have not experienced successful culture change. Even fewer have led successful culture change.

What leaders need is a how-to guide to crafting workplace inspiration, an approach that helps leaders make values, citizenship, and teamwork as important as performance.

My new book, The Culture Engine, offers a proven, step-by-step framework that helps leaders define a healthy team culture with an organizational constitution – and then helps leaders align plans, decisions, and actions to that constitution.

An organizational constitution specifies your team’s purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals. It creates “liberating rules” that help leaders and team members understand exactly how they are expected to treat each other and their customers.

For example, when your team’s “integrity” value is defined in observable, tangible, measurable terms, it is easy to see when leaders and team members are modeling those behaviors, when they are living your team’s desired values in every interaction.

Culture change is not a quick fix. It takes time – but the time is well worth the effort. Our culture clients consistently enjoy 40 percent gains in employee engagement, 40 percent gains in customer service, and 35 percent gains in profits, all within 18-24 months.

Pay attention to how your “Culture Engine” is running. It’ll do you, your team members, your customers, and your company GOOD.

What do you think? What is the condition of workplace inspiration in your team, department, or division? What do your bosses pay attention to most – performance, service, or culture? How did your best bosses create a safe, inspiring work environment? Note your thoughts and insights in the comments section below.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book from Wiley, The Culture Engine, is available NOW. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo used under Pinterest Copyright from Chris Edmonds on Pinterest.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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