Recently, I shared part three of a four-part mini-series detailing our company’s journey to focus on culture. If you are just joining us now, you can read part one here, part two here and part three here. Today is the fourth and final part four in the mini-series.
Up until this point, our company’s journey to focus on culture had yielded terrific results. We encouraged people to share their successes, and people even began sharing personal achievements such as weight loss goals.
And then one day, one of our leaders asked to meet. She wanted to share her story with me. She had been privately living a nightmare. Her husband had been mentally and physically abusing her for many years. Like so many victims of abuse, she struggled with finding a way out of the viscous cycle he had created. She knew it felt hypocritical – she was such a strong person at work, able to take on anything that came her way. Yet, at home, she felt hopeless.
She shared with me that there was a single moment during our leadership training where our coach was talking about the power of trust. She simply asked, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Such a simple question, yet one of the most powerful questions you can ever ask yourself. She knew at that moment, she must leave and change her life – for her, and for her two boys.
She left that training and that next day made the first call she needed to make. She got a restraining order and set the horribly difficult, yet life critical, plan into motion.
It wasn’t easy. And I wish I could say the road was a simple one for her after that. She fought through every step, though. And then when she traveled to our leadership summit, she came with both excitement and trepidation.
Things were still tough back home, but she was determined to overcome them. She shared with me that it was at that summit that she gained even more strength. The things she learned, and the energy she gained, gave her the strength she needed to make her next big move when she returned home.
She filed for divorce and, once and for all, made a commitment to change.
As she told me her incredible story of tragedy and strength, I couldn’t help but think: “What would have happened if we hadn’t invested in our culture like this? Would she still be suffering and trying to survive in that horrific, toxic relationship?”
I can’t help but wonder how many other lives could be changed if organizations spent more time truly focusing on their culture.
Business is not about a thing or an organization. It is about people.
If you are on the fence about if you should put more time, energy or money into your people and the culture of your organization, know the business results will absolutely come. In just one year, we increased our culture index from 70 to 80, an incredible 10-point climb in just one year.
And more than that, people will come. The best talent will be pounding on your door, asking to come in whenever you have a free slot.
Start simple. Start by listening to your team. Listen to others and how they have tackled culture. What has worked? What has failed?
Set aside a budget and a person who can make this their focus, at least to start. Develop or find a leadership mantra and train EVERYONE who even comes close to “leading” on it.
Reinforce it on a daily basis. Set a platform for that; don’t try to do it yourself.
You will be blown away at the impact you will make on the lives of your employees. I promise you it will be the proudest days of your career.
How do you feel about culture? What’s getting in your way to inciting change?