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How to Instill Behaviors that Support Your Corporate Strategy 

By Marsha Lindquist

Have you ever considered how your employees’ behaviors affect your company’s overall success? If not, then perhaps you should. When you ask employees what they think of the organization, you may get very different views. But their individual views are tied to how they are expected to behave and how they are actually behaving. Every behavior in your organization affects the way your affiliate organizations and customers think of you. When other people have a different view, perhaps a negative one, that means you have excess movement going on within your organization.

Excess movement means too many people are doing tasks they should not be doing. They’re fixing mistakes and making up for other people’s lack of results. Essentially, they’re doing excess things that are not part of operating in a streamlined fashion. When people are constantly fixing other people’s work or redoing their own work, they’re not supporting the corporate strategy.

However, you can create a culture that ties strategic actions to expected results and that has no excess movement. In this environment, every behavior is deliberately focused on satisfying the organization’s goals and satisfying that person’s need for fulfillment. The way the employees behave, the way they interact with each other, and the way they go about their business enhance quality and communicate the right attitude.

For example, imagine an organization in which behavior is an important ingredient in how you work. Everyone is expected to treat others with respect and provide them with information when they ask for it. Behavior is held on a high level and exceptional work is expected because it helps an organization grow and flourish. As a result, everyone feels encouraged to strive for a little more.

To foster this type of culture in your organization, use the following tips:

1. Maintain a “Number One” Mindset: Part of this culture starts from the CEO’s desire to be the best. With this mindset, you don’t worry about encroachment by competitors; rather, you think about ways you can continue to be number one.

How can you not worry about competitors, especially in this day and age? Essentially, all businesses provide either a product or a service. If you provide a service, and if you focus on delivering your very best, then no one else in the marketplace can compare with you. You make yourself stand out by your dedication to your clients. If you offer a product, then you must find some other way to make yourself stand out. Perhaps you focus on customer service, or the way you deliver your product, or the way you package your product. This act of differentiating yourself sets you apart from others so you’ll no longer be a commodity. Customers will see you for the value you offer and will buy from you for reasons other than the actual product.

Ultimately, having a “number one” mindset is not about comparing yourself to others; it’s about focusing on yourself and the internal processes and procedures that keep your entire company focused on the goal. With this mindset, you not only believe and act like you’re the best, but you treat employees as if they are also the best. Respect and trust are the driving forces that permeate every relationship. Additionally, cooperation and a willingness to share are evident on all levels, from the CEO to the mail room clerk. When everyone models these behaviors, then the number one mindset is easy to implement.

2. Eliminate Competition: When you treat all your employees as if they are the best, competitive behavior is no longer necessary. You create an open environment where everyone is the top in their field. By eliminating competition, your employees function and work together as a team. They don’t thwart other people’s efforts, hide information, or work against each other in any way. No one feels the need to compete to be the best because they are all the best.

You must make it known to all your employees that competitive behaviors have no place in your organization. When someone exhibits these behaviors, then you need to put them back on track, or end their relationship with your company. If someone behaves in a disrespectful manner, then they aren’t working toward the organization’s goals.

3. Encourage Exceptional: To align behavior with the organizational strategy, you must expect people to only deliver exceptional work and to come up with whatever they need to come up with to achieve that. Creativity is commonplace, and even mistakes are encouraged in this open-ended type of environment because they lead to creativity.

When your employees perform at an exceptional level, reward their behavior. Monetary rewards are not always necessary; you can also show recognition by holding people up on a pedestal and giving them company-wide recognition for delivering extra value. This will encourage others to perform at this level as well.

4. Mix Up Talents: Within your organization, you likely have people who you have identified as Fast-Trackers—those who have great potential for success and who you want to advance in the company. But before you simply promote someone, have him or her learn other areas of the business by “trading” jobs. This not only gives the fast-tracker a broader sense of what the company does, but it also helps the person develop creativity, operate out of his or her comfort zone, and know what others in the organization are up against.

For example, suppose you have a talented engineer in your company who you’ve identified as someone who should move up in the organization. Before putting that person in charge of decisions that could affect other departments, have that engineer work in the marketing department for six months to a year—exclusively, not just one or two days a week. Then have the engineer spend the same amount of time in the research and development department. Then have the engineer spend time in another department. Make sure this engineer thoroughly understands the needs and challenges of everyone in the organization.

Realize that you’re not trying to turn this engineer into a marketing person or a research and development person. You’re expecting that engineer to get a broader perspective of the company so he or she can go on to higher ranks in the company with that knowledge, insight, and sensitivity.

5. Keep Everyone On Track: As people produce results or make progress towards company goals, immediately reward people with feedback, money, awards, or any other means that shows your appreciation and recognizes a job well done. As you give the positive feedback, reiterate the goals and objectives and find out what the person will do next to bring the company closer to those objectives. The more positive feedback you give, the more you can ask people to contribute.

Aligning Behavior for Success in the Future: A culture that ties behavior to the strategic goals of the organization can have a powerful effect on your employees and your overall success. It allows all your employees to combine their individual strengths and experiences to solve problems, and they give extra effort to the process. They don’t focus on any one person shining through; rather, they focus on the end result and overall success of your organization.

When you use these strategies to instill this culture in your organization, everyone will be more productive and happier at work. As a result, people will interact better with each other and will no longer have to bother higher executive with day-to-day problems. People will actually want to come to work every day, and they’ll get more done than ever before. When that happens, you’ll get the best reward of all: higher profits, and employees who care.

Read other articles and learn more about Marsha Lindquist.

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