In the final blog of this three-part series, I’m covering how to lead a great culture, with a step by step guide. I’d recommend reading the first blog about leading yourself and the second blog about leading others before moving on to this one.
For background – In April 2023 I gave a keynote presentation at The Residential and Home Care Show about Leadership Strategies To Create Great Culture. The talk focused on the two areas that need consideration before a leader can really start to shift company culture, leading yourself and leading others and now we are ready to look at a roadmap to creating great culture.
Achieving great culture – step by step
Before moving forward with culture change, it’s important to reflect on the culture issues that you see currently.
Have a think for yourself first, and then gather the leadership team together to discuss. The best question to ask is “Where are we now?” in terms of the culture.
Are there cliques within the team that create disruption? Is there a blame culture? Are people generally burnt out and de-motivated? Is there politics between a few key team members that causes friction?
Identifying the current issues and naming them can help to see the path forward.
Once you have some notes from the leadership team, it’s time to put the question to the wider team. I’d recommend doing this in a team meeting or multiple meetings to ensure everyone gets to speak and be sure to listen empathetically, even if you disagree.
Establishing the culture everyone wants
Once everyone has been able to express how they feel about the current culture it’s time to move on. You’ve let people vent, but now the venting stops.
It’s time to ask “What culture do you want?”
Look at the graphic below to take some inspiration and think about what would work well for the team.
Fro example, if you have a very experienced and well established team, a culture of self-leadership could work really well. A culture of inclusion and respect would be great for a multi-cultural workplace. A culture of wellbeing and harmony might be desirable for a burnt out team.
Scribble down as many words as you can think of and try to whittle it down to just a few as a collective. Make sure everyone gets chance to participate.
I’m sure you will end up with more than a few words. Perhaps you looked at the graphic and thought “But we want our culture to be all of this!”
That’s fine. If you’ve got 4, 6 or 8 words then here’s what you’re going to do next…
Using a Culture Wheel to ignite change
If you’re a smaller company/home then I’d recommend keeping to 4/5 culture words to keep things manageable. You’ll see why soon. If you’re a larger team then you may find up to around 8 culture words will work for your team size.
If you can get hold of a large piece of flip-chart paper, draw a circle like the one above, divide the circle into segments to match the number of words you have and plot the words around the outside.
Now it’s time to review each word one at a time and it’s important to follow these steps exactly:
- Pick the first segment of the wheel and ask the team “If we were a 10/10 for this area, what would that look like?” You want to hear the dream and vision for what a 10/10 would be.
- Once you have the vision it’s time to reflect where you are now. Ask “If that’s a 10/10, what do we score right now?” You may need to take an average from the group and note it on the paper.
- Move round the wheel like this, one segment at a time noting the scores and once you’ve finished you will be able to sit back and look where the big gaps are.
This might instantly provoke ideas from the team on how to close the biggest gaps and be sure to write them down and make plans. If the team are excited by the prospect of improving these areas then that’s a great sign.
Capitalise on the momentum
To really take the culture change forward a great next step is to assign every member of the team a culture word. Be sure to mix it up – you don’t want all the team leaders to have the same word or everyone in the same department with the same word.
You should have people in different departments and on different teams with the same word, and they now represent that word – with a mission to make sure it lives within the culture.
This means if they see an opportunity to promote that aspect of culture, be it through a policy change or a situation that arises, they should. They should always be reminding people of the culture that the company strives to live.
A few final ways to capitalise on the momentum you’ve built:
- Create visuals to bring the culture to life. Create posters and display them around the home. Spread the word to your residents and families. After all, they’ll be the ones that will feel the culture shift.
- Use your influencers. There will always be people who will dismiss change and won’t be behind the movement, so it’s important you support the key influencers in the team to drive the culture change.
If you follow the steps above, you will see a clear difference within 30 days. Culture change might not be instant but it can shift quickly with the right momentum.
If you’ve followed along with this 3-part series you will soon be in a position where you are a strong leader, you can effectively lead others and create a great culture.
Interested in a workshop on developing great culture?
Get in touch to discuss! These workshops are fantastic for new managers, deputies and team leaders.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog series then why not watch the full presentation below: