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TEAM-BUILDING A GREAT STRATEGY OR FLUFF?

By M. Dana Baldwin, Senior Consultant

Strategic Planning Expert

Experts estimate that American industry could improve its bottom line results by about $350 billion per year by getting everyone to truly buy in to the mission and culture of their companies. While the absolute number could be debated, the principle is sound: A great culture leads to increased profitability.

What is the atmosphere in your company?  Is the culture good?  Do your people know what is expected of them and feel that they are supporting and executing the strategies to which your company has committed?

How can you be sure that your people have “bought in” to your vision of the course and direction of your company?  Well, much of that “buy-in” will be a result of the culture within the company and the management style of your executive leadership team.

There are many factors which influence the attitudes of your people.  Leadership style, mentorship, willingness to build the strengths and sense of self-worth of your people are some of the key factors which should be included in your analysis of your situation.

Leadership style: How do you lead your people?  Do you lead by example or directive?  Do you believe in your people or do you not trust them to do their jobs properly?  Do you encourage initiative, or do you prescribe exactly what they must do, without deviation or thought?

What about those managers who insist on a command and control style of management?  Each of them should step back, review their results and the actual atmosphere inside their company to see whether their people are truly “bought-in” to their company, or are simply putting in their time, collecting a paycheck and getting by with the minimum they can in order to be able to keep their heads out of the line of fire?

Mentorship: Do you attempt to help your people develop their talents and knowledge and operate in their “sweet spot”?  Do you try to have a positive influence on your associates?  Do you go the extra step of recognizing the accomplishments of your people, so they will know you see and appreciate their results?

Why is all this important?  With the appropriate leadership style, your company can earn the trust and confidence of your people, which results in higher levels of performance. With an effective mentorship atmosphere, people will likely make a greater effort to contribute to the success of your company.

What kind of atmosphere would you prefer at your company?  One which encourages people to contribute and use their own initiative and ideas, or one in which people are afraid to speak up and unwilling to expend the energy and take the risk to make things happen?

Is this all “fluff”?  Do you really need to concern yourself with making people feel positive about themselves, their bosses, their company and the culture in which they are working?  Will there really be enough positive results to warrant the effort needed to achieve the kind of culture described above?

There are lessons to be learned from the results of those companies which have decided to improve their internal environment and culture.  Look at the many companies in Silicon Valley which have a culture very different than many, more traditional companies.  They have gyms, restaurants, coffee shops, variable hours and a lot of individual autonomy, as well as highly supportive leadership teams.  The resulting atmosphere has led to high profits as well as high morale and “buy-in”.  Is it worth the effort for your company to explore changing if your people are not as involved as you would like?  If you would like help in analyzing and possibly changing your team’s buy-in, please contact me at baldwin@cssp.com.

To learn more about our strategic alignment book please click here.  To learn more about our strategic alignment workshop please click here.

Some additional  articles you may want to consider:

Know Thyself – Culture in Strategic Management

http://www.strategyletter.com/CD1205/featured_article.php

Winning the High Way — Organizational Success by the Golden Rule

http://www.strategyletter.com/CD0304/featured_article.php

A Culture of Discipline — Building Toward Great http://www.cssp.com/CD0207a/SustainingGreatResults/

M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. and can be reached at baldwin@cssp.com.

© Copyright 2012 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution.