If you lead a decentralized business model and are looking to build a consistent culture across your organization, have no fear! Although this can be a challenging endeavor, it’s a very rewarding one and one that you can’t avoid. Well, you can avoid it but just know that you’ll be building a culture whether you’re intentionally doing so or doing it out of negligence. You can take a guess at which effort you should go with when it comes to culture.
Here are the three C’s to building a Culture of Good across your decentralized organization…
- Preach a Common Language
Every culture requires a common, spoken language. Without intentionality a culture can become tribal and the further you get from HQ the more varied a culture can become leading to estrangement. Detachment between how groups of employees describe your culture including your values and mission will lead to detachment of feelings, beliefs, and ultimately behavior. Since culture is what most people are doing most of the time, setting a language around how culture is described and driven is essential.
An example of a culture language is the Culture of Good’s “Emotional Operating System” that teaches five promises with distinct, observable behaviors that align to each of those promises. Rather than writing a list of values on a break room wall, discover more about the five promises model at cultureofgood.com.
- Set Clear Expectations
The further employees feel from the core of the business, the easier it is for them to lose sight of their own contribution to its success. Clear expectations that are well-defined and steadfast are promoters towards a coherent culture. When expectations are ambiguous and undecided it results in an employee experience with culture that can feel disorienting. If a common language gives culture a voice, then setting clear expectations gives culture sight.
Clear expectations allow all employees to know they are a part of something bigger than their personal experience and that they are headed in the same direction as their peers. In other words, they give connection and direction. Don’t shy away from telling employees what is expected of them and do hold them accountable to those expectations. Most people want to know if they’re hitting the mark or not so set the mark and equip them to aim!
- Lead with Consistent Measurements
Once you’ve established a common language and set clear expectations, validate everyone’s contribution with consistent measurements. By default, employees will drift from the essence of your culture and being decentralized adds to that dynamic. We’ve been told that what gets measured gets done, and I would add that what gets consistently measured gets consistently done. Measuring affords individuals, teams, and your organization the option to know whether they are winning or not. How you measure is up to you but do make sure it leads to encouragement and not dissuasion. The last thing you want is to make culture building a weapon to beat your employees down with when they don’t perform or hit the mark.
So, preach a common language, set clear expectations, and lead with consistent measurements. If you do, it will make the work of building a culture of good that scales in a decentralized business that much easier.