Culture: A Required Shift in the Mindset of Leadership

Ask any business owner, and people costs are the top of their financial concerns and often the largest business expense. Smart business leaders pay attention to financials – so naturally people costs and proactive people/culture planning should be top of mind. Unfortunately, research does not support this idea. Leaders plan more on financials, less on people. Additionally, we know that change can be difficult, and it takes a long time to shift the mindset of leadership. Combine these two ideas, and we have an interesting business challenge: Should leaders plan for people/culture more and how to we fully accept and support this change?

The Need for Intentional Culture – Supported by Numbers
Here’s some data to back up. When CEOs were asked: “How important are people/culture in impacting your bottom line?” On a scale of 1-5, would you be surprised to learn that CEOs rate this a 4.8. And when we ask about financials and marketing, we get similar responses – almost a 5. Follow that knowledge with questions about creating a plan for finances / marketing, and it’s likely that you are not surprised that nearly 100% proactively plan for financials and marketing.

Then we ask about their People/Culture Plan – and there’s an uncomfortable gap in conversation and blank stares. Leaders say things like, “Well, I’m really good with people… and I trust my gut and hope for the best”. Really? Is that how your organization handles things that are vital to the bottom line of the organization? I surely hope not.

As a smart business owner, we must address this gap. Hope is not a strategy. We must do better. We must plan for people/culture success and be intentional in our efforts. Results show that less than 10% of organizations are developing written plans for their people/culture. (Reminder: Surveys indicated a 4.8 level of people/culture importance in driving the bottom line!)

Change is Difficult – But Necessary
Speaking to the choir here – change can be hard. Not only is continuing to do things with familiarity in the way weknow how easier, but it seems time effective. However – we also recognize that “Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results” is the definition on insanity. And we know that change brings supports innovation, creativity, performance and morale. All of these things take time but are often well worth it. Leaders must embrace change as a means of “that’s just how we do business” and start the shift in mindset that strong leaders possess.

Ask yourself what to Stop, Start, Continue
COVID has given us time to think about our business practices. Many leaders are using this time for reflection andas an opportunity to make needed changes. If you haven’t already, take a moment to reflect on your business practices, those that drive success to the bottom line. And remember, culture does this too!

I recommend 3 questions to get ideas flowing:
– What can you stop doing that will be most beneficial to your people?
– What can you start doing that will drive people success?
– What should you continue doing that has worked well and served your people well?

Post-COVID (and during!) The Work Continues
Getting the process going is the first step towards success. Then you must take action. We cannot use COVID as a time to rest on our laurels. As we plan for our overall business strategy, we must plan for whatever the “new norm” will look like post-COVID. There is no stop button, there is no going back.

It’s Up to You – Take Action
Bottom line: leaders must take action to improve their workplace culture. COVID has magnified many of our business practices – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We must plan ahead and make improvements if we want to come out of this on top.
MB Consulting and RCSN are here to help companies release the potential embedded in their culture. Whether recruiting top talent or developing your people – we take pride in building better teams and leaders.

LEARN MORE: Contact, Melanie Booher, Senior Leadership Consultant, 513-207-2252