Hello SOTGC community,
This post is about how employee morale and culture can make or break a growing company, and a developing leader’s success. I was talking to my best friend about my hope for the future of the team I’m on because of some coming additions to leadership in the West because of the culture these people created in their own respective teams (prior to their promotions). We were expressing how important company culture is, and how the leadership of a company, division, and team is what creates that culture.
Here is an example of what healthy culture can do, and how it affects people that come into contact with these employees. Last week I was visiting one of the corporate offices in our company and was asked, impromptu, to give a talk to the ladies in the “Lean In Member Circle” (which is a mentorship program that some of the divisions in Medtronic have created) about SOTGC, why I started it, and what my vision of the future is. One of the last questions that was asked after the talk was “WHAT is it about the culture of Salient that was brought into AE (our division is called Advanced Energy) and how can we replicate it?” It’s no secret that our little division in this Global industry leader is making waves, growing in revenue, and we have maintained our culture that came from the mid sized company they bought.
I smiled fondly, remembering my years with Salient, and thought about how we really HAVE been able to carry that culture with us into Advanced Energy, and I shared our recipe for success. At Salient we were a family, from the top down a culture for success was created based off of debate, of working together, of stepping in the SECOND one of our teammates (from anywhere in the United Stated) needed help. We joked with each other, we teased each other, we hugged like siblings and we called each other out when one person wasn’t giving their all to the team. Our little company had a complete “We NOT me” attitude…and it carries through today.
Occasionally I meet people who say they don’t really care about having a “close team dynamic.” And that makes me feel sorry for that person. It doesn’t matter how good each individual contributor is, when a company functions as ONE, they create sustainable success. When someone trusts their teammates (within the entire company) enough to ask for help when they’re struggling and everyone jumps in and helps raise that person back up, they create sustainable success. Any leader who strives to do the best they can to develop each individual person’s skills and strengths while simultaneously cultivating and nourishing a team dynamic that moves towards goals as one, creates sustainable success.
When I did the SOTGC interview with the newly appointed western Area Vice President of sales I asked: “How many of their reps made President’s Club and how many times did their team make President’s Club?” I was told a handful of people on the team made that honor MULTIPLE times and that as a team, they made it three times. Now THAT is what I call a leader. You don’t see that kind of success on a team unless the dynamic is such that they grow as a team, they fight as a team, and they WIN as a team.
Below are some tips from my friend, our new Area Vice President, and myself have for any growing company or leader in creating a healthy culture that thrives on trust and will ultimately attain success
- Treat the sales team like they are the offense on a sports team and realize that they are out there introducing the products/services to new markets and generating revenue, revenue that makes everything at the corporate level possible
- Treat the corporate people like they are the defense. Just as integral as the sales team, and remembering that while the offense sells tickets, defense wins championships.
- Above all, treat ALL employees like each one is equally as important and that their voice matters, will be heard, and will be respected. People in general do not work well from a place of fear, feeling like their job matters and their voice is important replaces fear with innovation and passion
- Follow through on your commitments. If it’s an email, phone call, meeting, contest you launch that people win, a promise to do a half-day if the team accomplishes the goals of the month, etc. If they can’t rely on you to follow through with the little things, they won’t trust you to follow through on the big things (commission changes, structure changes, product launches, etc)
- Do what you say and say what you mean. Give them a voice and an advocate in a human resources leader. “Human” Resources is not an administrative role, it’s a business partner. The person representing the most important part of your business should have a vested interest in all employees and establish relationships with all of their internal clients as well as the executive team in addition to representing the company in the market. Additionally, the HR Leader should be able to think on their own and make simple decisions without the input or micromanagement of an executive team member and have the same passion, drive and understanding of the business as a sales person in the field.
- Hire for the right reasons regardless of ties to the company and follow the same process with everyone if possible. The best companies employ the best people, and they treat them as such.
- A successful well functioning executive team works together but stays in their own lanes. Collaboration within the executive team is important but allowing the “expert” in each functional area own their silo is more important. It requires trust, and confidence that each person will do everything in their ability to contribute and create a world-class organization.
- Respect each other. Ask if the team or team member needs help when you think they do, don’t just take it upon yourself to jump in without asking. Be honest and open with each other and in turn be willing to take constructive criticism (without taking it personally) and act upon and make changes when needed to work well with the team.
- Take ownership, of your silo, of your actions, non-actions and mistakes. Be reliable, no excuses. If the silo and its members are not functioning to its potential take responsibility and coach them to a path of success. Lead by example.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. When this is done effectively you’ll see collaboration, morale, and creativity spike which ultimately leads to success.
So there you have it folks. My “two cents” on what creates a company and leader that will see to their company’s sustainable success. Feel free to keep the change, or chuck it in the pond and make a wish 😉
Main Photo credit: www.medixteam.com