2022 has proven to be another challenging year for organizational leaders. These challenges, however, provide opportunities for your culture, values, and people to strive and thrive despite uncertainty and pressures outside of your control. So how do you build and maintain a corporate culture that can endure and grow in trying times? I will share a few of my personal experience and beliefs below.
Empower Your Employees
When building a culture, you want your people to drive the employment experience.
One of the best pieces of feedback I’ve gotten while serving as Chief Executive Officer at SEAM Group was from a long-tenured employee. During intense growth and multiple new members joining our team, he told me the growth motivated him to work harder.
This doesn’t happen in every organization.
Many people may feel threatened by new talent joining the team. At SEAM Group, we’re all-in on new employees bringing their specialties to the table as we work together to make the world a safer, more reliable place.
Know When to Stay Out of the Way
As leaders, we must be cognizant of the reality that we’re more likely to damage our organizational culture with our actions than we are to improve it.
That’s because the little things we do are magnified. Missteps do not go unnoticed. They are seen by the organization on a much bigger scale.
Many leaders – especially first-time managers – have trouble letting go of tasks. Entrepreneurs are especially guilty of this trait. They’ve worked so hard to build something from the ground-up, that when it’s time to bring on a team, it’s difficult for them to relinquish control.
For leaders in larger organizations, this pointless power struggle takes the form of segmented silos where teams are prohibited from working together to achieve business objectives.
If you want your company to succeed, get out of the way and let your talent prove themselves as the creative, capable people you hired them to be.
Establish Core Values – and Live Them Out
At SEAM Group, we’ve established the following core values:
- The safety of our employees, contractors and customers.
- Absolute customer focus with an entrepreneurial sales approach and customer-orientated support and business processes.
- Truly caring for our people and fostering a climate of teamwork, trust, respect, support, and fun.
- Integrity in our words and actions.
It’s great to create core values, but how are you bringing them to life?
Here are some ideas.
Personalize Your Approach:
Reach out to your team members when they have important moments in their lives. Check in after the birth of a child. Congratulate a team member who just earned a graduate degree. Go the extra mile and watch your employees go above and beyond.
Act with Reciprocity:
Just like in any strong relationship, you have to put in more than you get out. As people, we naturally give when we receive. Have a genuine spirit of reciprocity with your team, and you’ll experience greater organizational outcomes together.
Treat Hierarchy as an Artifact:
Because that’s what it is. As CEO, I never see 99.9 percent of the decisions being made in the organization. Don’t stifle your team’s creativity by putting people in a box. Give them space to outperform their titles. That ownership will benefit the company in the short and long term.
When it comes to building and maintaining a strong culture, it’s important to never push from the top down. Make the employee experience a personal one. Bring your people into important conversations and moments along the way. Give them buy-in and enable them to manage the culture in a way that both protects and empowers them.
If the culture gives, people give back, and the culture strengthens.
And then, the cycle continues until it becomes a foundational piece of your organization.
Colin Duncan is the CEO of SEAM Group, a global leader in energized asset safety, reliability, and maintenance. He has 20+ years of executive and board leadership experience across the safety services market. His thought leadership has appeared throughout various industry trade publications, and he served as the general editor of the book, “The Zero Index: A Path to Sustainable Safety Excellence.”
SEAM Group is a global leader in energized asset performance focused on delivering safety, reliability, and maintenance solutions to some of the world’s largest companies. Inspecting more than one million assets per year, SEAM Group offers a proven platform that combines strategic advisory, custom training, advanced technology, and actionable data management to position customers for success. Visit www.seamgroup.com/blog/ for company developments.