An enterprise-wide workplace culture is not just one large workplace culture but is, rather, the total of all of its subcultures. Subcultures, as I use the term, are the subsidiaries, divisions, regions, departments and even the teams within the departments of the overarching organizations they are a part of.
While we often speak of an enterprise’s workplace culture, it is really more important to think of that enterprises’ workplace culture as the ‘sum total’ of its workplace subcultures.
And, while it is ideal if the top-most organizational leader of an enterprise is its workplace culture’s champion, it is critical for every leader, at every level; to understand that great workplace cultures do not have to start at the very top. In fact there are always workplace subcultures that are much more productive than the average of the enterprise-wide workplace culture’s level of effectiveness.
I have made a career of stripping away the excuse, “I can’t fix my culture until my boss fixes his”. For you see, every leader, at every level of any viable enterprise, has more than enough resources, and plenty of latitude to dramatically improve their own subculture if they understand the six critical elements of workplace culture and have the will carry out the journey of building a truly high performance workplace culture.
As living proof of this premise, I was blessed with the opportunity to make such a journey with the very first line-management assignment I was given, early in my Xerox career. I don’t take credit for the success of this journey alone, as my teammates were the ones that actually walked with me in my early leadership efforts and helped me learn from the experiences.
I was asked to assume the assignment as District Manger of a 10 person sales team called the GEM Team, as it was responsible for all of the government, education and medical accounts in the Kansas City branch for Xerox at the time.
The team results for the year were at 60% of plan through June, a situation that led to the demotion of the team’s leader. Over the next few weeks, I will be telling and showing you how it was done. But suffice it to say the team went from nearly last in performance among 800 sales teams at Xerox to the very top of the organization in only seven months. But for now just believe that we could not and did not wait for the branch, regional or corporate leaders within Xerox to change their culture before we started working on ours.
Please follow this blog over the coming weeks to hear more about the successful journey of the GEM Team and discover how you can use what I learned, not only from my GEM Team experience, but from my entire leadership career and how that knowledge can be applied to your present assignment and your entire career as well.
In the meantime, please comment on this blog, ask questions about your own workplace culture, review my earlier blogs and perhaps even read my book, Making Culture Pay… Hope to meet you here again, soon…
Bless you… Jerry…