STIRring up success is an intimate and deliberate process. Imagine making your favorite stew. Some cooks enjoy setting out all the ingredients, measuring them, and setting up the stove top and cookware before they ever put anything in the pot. Whether you use a recipe book or recall a recipe from your family heritage, an image of the final product arouses the senses in your mind. Your taste buds will savor the flavor, your nose will imagine the scents, and your minds’ eye will imagine the aesthetically pleasing dish soon to be enjoyed.
Driving an intentionally successful team is a similar process. We imagine the outcome and define what we believe will be an enjoyable result. We line up the right people to provide the best resources and talents much like the ingredients in our dish. Shaping the culture of our team is knowing who will make the connection between where we want to go and how we will get there. Each person must play their part. A savory filet mignon is a delightful culinary experience, but it has no place in an apple pie.
As the leader of your team there are necessary tasks you must do to Shape the Culture of your successful enterprise.
Define the Outcome: When shaping the culture of your organization the most taxing quest is getting everyone on board with what that culture is supposed to look like. We call this setting goals. What are we cooking this year? Too often companies make the mistake of assuming everyone understands the end results. Take the time to define the goals clearly with your team.
Outline the Recipe to Success: As the leader, you are uniquely responsible for shaping the outcome of your team. You may want to boil your potatoes, but if you start cooking them before you baste and roast your beef your potatoes will be overdone and too mushy. We are not just producing a product, we are producing certain products in certain ways on certain deadlines. Specifically, the leader is integrally involved in directing his or her team and ensuring everyone is cooking the same meal.
Expect Creativity: Shaping the culture is centrally important as it sets the stage for the rest of the steps towards success. To be clear, shaping the culture is not the same as micro-managing. Shaping is aligning your team to the outcome. When a team member comes to you with a method that seems glaringly different than an approach you would consider, expect them to show you how their method will match the goals and achieve the desired result. Encourage their creativity; some of the greatest inventions were born from out-of-the-box thinking.
Expect Alignment: While being creative is important, it can allow for distractions and waste if not honed correctly. Communicate with your team well enough to know that their work is focused on fulfilling the outcome you as the leader have set. In a business, you are not paying for their creativity, you are paying for their creative solutions to your objectives.
A positive and well defined culture allows for a successful process. It does not guarantee it. Shaping the Culture is just the first step. Next, we must ensure that our team is fully on the same page of our recipe.