I seem to meet three (or four) different leadership responses when it comes to investing in culture:
1. The Party Star
This leader believes in investing in their teams and employees. However, they implement strategies which simply band-aid bigger problems and never address the core needs of their teams. Even though they ‘do fun stuff’, they still experience costly churn, have unnecessary conflict, and don’t know why their employees are burnt out and leave.
2. The Tinkerer
This type of leader believes in the value of investing in culture. They have good intentions, but a desire for immediate results causes them to introduce too many tactics and they don’t know if any of them are truly working. None of them have sticking influence or lasting impact. They miss the long-term value of having a plan and confuse their teams.
3. The Sage
This leader believes in culture investment because they’ve seen the data and have experienced both the financial and life-giving outcomes of a healthy and engaged workplace. They have committed to a long-term investment in their team and measure the results. These leaders have engaged teams and are building lasting brands.
(There’s a fourth ‘leader’: The Fool. I use the term ‘leader’ very loosely here. These people don’t care about their teams, don’t care about burnt out staff, and don’t care about the holistic impact they are making on the world because they are experiencing short-term results. The next generation of people entering the workforce will not be so tolerant of these leaders nor want to work for their businesses.)
From leader to leader: please do something to invest in your team and enrich their lives. Pick a plan, measure your efforts, and stick with it long enough to know how it’s working. Keep doing the work to make your company great for the people who work for you.