Recognize This! – Creating a powerful, positive culture takes work, but strategic recognition makes it easier.

I’m thrilled that more and more I’m seeing the topic of company culture being discussed, critically, as a key contributor to organisation success and not a “warm fuzzy HR initiative.” As an example, I strongly recommend this terrific post on TLNT on the impact of culture on the organisation and a revolution in the appreciation of culture.

Culture Management Requires Effort

If you’re considering tackling your company culture head on, you need to be prepared to do some work. As S. Chris Edmonds said on SmartBlog on Leadership:

“I’m coaching a senior leader through his company’s culture change. He recently told me, ‘Man, this culture management is hard work!’ We both laughed — and agreed.

“It takes time and energy to tend, monitor, and nurture a safe, inspiring work environment in your organisation’s divisions and teams. Safe, inspiring work environments do not happen by chance. Human foibles and temptations, driven by greed and power, can make companies lousy places to work. Only when leaders proactively manage productivity and citizenship do organisations enjoy their desired high performance, values-aligned culture.”

Isn’t that always the case? Mixing humans into anything can cause the best laid plans to go awry. And yet, it can be done. Indeed, it can be done more effectively and efficiently by playing directly to those human “foibles” and very real needs.

How to Proactively Manage Culture

We’ve codified how to proactively manage organisation culture in our first book Winning with a Culture of Recognition, which my CEO Eric Mosley has now expanded on in his newest book The Crowdsourced Performance Review.

In short, when you use what matters most to your organisation – your strategic objectives (what you need employees to accomplish) and your core values (how you want employees to accomplish those objectives) – as the reasons to recognise employees frequently, specifically and in a timely way, you give yourself the means to influence, manage and redirect your culture through positivity.

Avoid a Hero Culture

But the last thing you want to do is create a hero culture. Why? As explained by Holland Dombeck in Fistful of Talent:

Remember, the secret to a strong, effective, positive culture is giving all employees the opportunity to be recognised (and to recognise others) for their heroic efforts – whether those efforts are daily, occasional or rare, indeed. The point is, don’t forget (as Holland says): “the staff that plan, resource, and execute their work smoothly.” Doing that consistently, day in and day out, is heroic, too.

Do you proactively manage your culture?