Great Leaders Walk the Talk

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In my last blog, “Top 9 To-Do’s for Successful Culture Change,” I discussed how culture change initiatives within an organization frequently fail to meet expected outcomes. I also outlined nine ways that organizations can encourage success during a cultural change process.

The first and perhaps most important “To-Do” on the list: make sure the leaders of influence in the organization are behind it at the start. Having a leader or group of leaders working together to identify, model and encourage the desired values of the organization are necessary components for a thriving culture. Additionally, once those values within the culture are identified, it is critical that future hires fit into the vision of the culture. The key to high performing culture is to integrate the values and behaviors into every fiber of the organization. The values are your guiding post for hiring, performance management, coaching, customer experience and branding. Who you are on the inside of your organization has to be consistent with who you are to your customers.

I recently read a post by Terri Wallin called, “Who Owns the Culture? The Chief Executive.” In her article she wrote that it is “the leader of the organization that ultimately owns the organizational culture.” She went on to discuss how important it is that employees (new hires or existing) have a clear understanding of the desired values and defined culture for the organization. Wallin noted how virtually every part of an organization, from recruitment, to achieving a vision and retention is impacted by culture. Read more from this author about ways to create a healthy culture.

Great CEOs are committed to culture talk every day. It is imperative that they walk their talk every day. Culture is ultimately driven by the leaders of the organization who consistently model the core values. This in turn creates clarity on what is important to all leaders across departments and even across geography. When making a successful culture change, it is key that the leaders are behind it at the outset because ultimately, they direct the culture. Your culture is a direct reflection of who you are as a leader and what you stand for on a daily basis.

What actions do you take as a leader to live true to your core values?

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