Today, HR managers and consultants talk about business culture and creating better corporate cultures. This talk often begs the question, what does it really mean to build a better business culture?
Business culture and change rarely starts top down, although the facilitation of the change is a result a discussion made from the top. If business culture is important to the top brass, here is how they ought to begin maintaining or changing the culture.
Small Team Level Ownership
What is ownership? Ownership really is accountability. Accountability really is a result of people being personally invested in the work that they do, small teams help create ownership and thus accountability.
Three aspects of accountability answer three basic questions:
What is my role and how am I doing in that role?
What are others role and how are they doing in those roles?
What is the role of our team and how are we doing?
From item 1, we should “know thy-self”. Allow for self-assessment for members of their teams, they should be able to answer on their own. This is more difficult to answer than you might realize, but let members self-assess.
From item 2, have members of teams assess others. They need to understand other people’s roles and strengths and weaknesses. But, they also need to ask others how they are doing, and understand each other’s self-assessments as well.
And finally, from Item 3 people need to understand the underling goals and abilities as a team, how are they doing as a unit. This includes teams’ assessment as well as discussions involving individual assessment.
Role of a Leader
As a leader, you should facilitate the free exchange of ideas and allow teams to assess their own status, including your own status. Be transparent, or as transparent as allowable. Do not make judgements based on the assessments, simply use it as data points and communicate with the teams to create their own goals in addition to giving them key corporate/ business goals to achieve.
This will help foster a sense of ownership and accountability. Steer the ship in a direction that is both on board with the corporate/business goals and the goals created by the teams themselves. Incorporate the team’s ideas into being a corporate idea on the small scale. Communication across teams and management that includes input from all sides will make for a culture of accountability.
Implementing Small Team Accountability
Practical implementation would consist of weekly team based assessments, leaders communicating their goals and collecting data. That data would be used in creating goals with the agreement of both leadership and teams working together. Total time spent on assessments and meetings would be 30 minutes a week. This structure could also change or replace current meeting structures in place.