One of the best quotes I draw on in training projects is by Aristotle. He says:"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
While consistency doesn’t guarantee excellence (we can choose to be consistently average), inconsistency will not produce consistent excellence. But then, what do we need to be consistent about to drive a performance-oriented culture? There are three key things that bind people together to reach that goal.
It isn’t unusual for companies to define values along with their Mission, Vision, Description, Purpose… etc. But do those “values” represent something defining in the organization? Are they clear and consistent and recognized as the code that guides behavior? Do they define the difference between right and wrong in people’s business decisions and actions? Are leaders living those values and holding people accountable to them? If these questions can’t be answered consistently throughout the organization, they probably haven’t earned the title of “Core Values”.
While disagreements or conflicts absolutely happen in absolutely any relationship, how we work through those moments defines who we are as individuals and as teams. Companies with high performing cultures find that a key strength is their ability to reach consensus even in difficult circumstances. They recognize that there is a right way to do things and work hard to achieve the best result for everyone involved. With consistent organizational values, it is easier to stay accountable and settle disagreements in agreeable ways.
Coordination and Integration
Whether the organization is represented by 15 people or 15,000, solid communication and cooperation can easily exist. But, regardless of the number of people or departments involved, when there is a strong alignment of goals and a shared perspective across the organization, there is a far greater predictability of coordinated excellence. Working with someone from a different department, market, or region should feel like working with someone on your own team. With this, comes consistency and predictability in our approach to doing business.
1) Values, 2) Agreement and 3) Coordination are the things we need to do…repeatedly. Those are habits that bind people together and produce excellent cultures.
Continue to Part 3 in this series
Jon Reed is ADG’s Director of Culture and People Development. Click here to read more about Jon's background and experience.