Blendification Culture Stack

Blendification Culture Stack

In the Blendification Framework, potential becomes the motivation to establish a culture that drives strategy and execution. If a company hasn’t defined its culture, it is likely their strategy will not lead to anything significant and employees will not be motivated to achieve the Strategic Outcomes they hope to create. There are four layers of a well-developed organization culture stack which are:

Organizations that enjoy enduring success understand that their culture sets the long-term motivational direction. Truly great organizations establish their motivational culture around their culture. This culture does not change when markets shift, or customers come and go. This creates sustainable motivation and continuity. Leading with continuity and an ability to manage change is what separates the great companies from those that are bound for mediocrity. The culture is meant to guide and inspire, not necessarily to differentiate. Remember, in order to spark someone’s potential, leaders need to move away from competitive differentiation to chasing a common purpose defined by culture.

So, what is your potential? What is your organization’s potential? What is yours and your organization’s potential if you were focused on a Cause with strong Intention reinforced through behaviors and habits?

Culture Begins with the Pursuit of a Cause

Stating a company’s Cause is the first step in defining the organization’s culture. As Gustavo Grodnitzky wrote in his book, “people work harder for a cause than for cash,” companies need to have a clear Cause that serves as the inspirational and motivational focal point for employees, customers, investors, and suppliers.

The Statement of Cause offers guidance about the future that the organization is creating. It is not measurable or quantifiable and it is not a SMART goal. There are plenty of opportunities to create clear, measurable goals within strategy planning, but this is not one of them. The Cause is what we aspire to become, to achieve, to create—something that will require significant change and progress and may never be attained. Think of how your company and product will impact the world, your community, your employees, and customers’ lives. What will the impact be on the community as a result of your company’s existence? It outlines what you stand for, why you exist, and who you will impact.

All companies have goals but there is a difference between merely having a goal and becoming committed to a significant challenge—such as climbing Mount Everest or completing Basic Cadet Training. The Statement of Cause is compelling. It serves as the driving force behind effort, and acts as a catalyst for team spirit. It involves a time not yet realized. The Statement of Cause becomes part of the DNA of the organization and is the foundation on which strategies and relationships rest. It may appear unachievable but remain motivating. It sparks passion, emotion, and conviction in your employees, customers, and community.

Some companies have captured Causes in their vision statements. Here is a list of several compelling Statements of Cause:

• Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company – Democratizing the automobile
• Starbucks – To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time
• Amazon – To be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything, they might want to buy online
• Google – To provide access to the world’s information in one click
• PetSmart – Nurturing and enriching the bond between people and animals

Each generates some level of motivation and inspiration while also making it clear about why the company exists and what it is chasing. Notice, there is nothing about being number one in market share, creating shareholder value, or making a certain profit. They are all focused on making an impact worthy of pursuit.

Lead With Intention

Intention guides the actions of the organization and directs decision making. The organization’s Statement of Intention is more concrete than its Cause. Like the Cause, a Statement of Intention establishes the organization’s individuality and is inspiring and relevant. The Statement of Intention defines who you will impact and how you will impact them.

When developing a Statement of Intention, organizations identify their primary stakeholders. Most organizations have three primary stakeholders which include:

• Employees
• Customers
• Communities

While these three groups exist in most organizations, some companies deviate from them. For example, a nonprofit might include donors and a heavy manufacturing company might include suppliers. Some may include investors. Either way, a Statement of Intention, is targeted to key stakeholders within an organization.

The Statement of Intention has the power to attract the right employees, and customers and repel the wrong employees and customers. While the Statement of Cause is a general overarching statement about the organization’s underlying Cause, the Statement of Intention takes it a step deeper.

The word intent means:

1) resolved or determined to do (something)
2) showing earnest and eager attention

The use of the word intention creates an inherent level of accountability. By stating the intention to do something, the company and its leaders can be held accountable to the Statement of Intention. A Statement of Intention is not a promise, it is a commitment. Like the statement of Cause, the Statement of Intention is meant to be socialized and used to motivate key stakeholders.

Behaviors Set Guardrails

The definition of behavior is:

• the way in which someone conducts oneself or behaves
• the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment
• the way in which something functions or operates

Based on this definition, when creating an intentional culture within an organization, shouldn’t leaders start with this in mind? If culture is the most important indicator of a company’s success, shouldn’t the culture be defined in the form of desired behaviors? There is so much written about company culture and its importance but very little defines culture and then outlines a process for intentionally building the desired culture. The reality is that the definition of culture is simple, it is employees’ behaviors supported primarily by their habits. Consequently, if you want to create an extraordinary culture, you must define the behaviors that are consistent with the culture you want.

If left on its own, the Statement of Cause could lead to behaviors that go outside the bounds of acceptable and appropriate behavior as leaders and employees potentially become obsessed with or have tunnel vision related to the Statement of Cause. The behaviors set the guardrails for company culture and complement the Statement of Cause and Statement of Intention.

When taking organizations through the Culture development, we identify three to five key behaviors that are connected to both the Statement of Cause and Statement of Intention. These behaviors become the guardrails to ensure the company and its employees do not sacrifice everything in realizing their potential.

The Power of Habits

According to Charles Duhigg in his book, “The Power of Habits,” Nearly 50% of what we do every day is a habit. A habit requires little thought prior to acting; it is like being on autopilot. While this is true with individuals, it is also true with organizations. Think of how meetings are run in your company and how that structure and format is essentially a habit. You can basically predict how certain meetings will go and what they will accomplish or not accomplish.

Habits are at the foundation of behaviors and as Charles Duhigg suggests, represent nearly 50% of what we do daily. When evaluating company culture, you need to look no further than the habits that exist within the company. Most of the time, we don’t even know we are doing something that is a habit. Think of your drive to work this morning or brushing your teeth; it’s not likely you remember either one with great clarity. Inside a company, habits represent the core of the culture and directly impact the company’s ability to realize its potential. If the behaviors and habits are not consistent with the Cause and Intention, it is likely the organizational culture suffers.

When defining habits, it is necessary to take each behavior and define them through specific observable habits. Generally, there are three to five habits that connect to each behavior. These are then blended with the Statement of Cause and Intention.

Company culture lives inside the habits of its employees. A clear definition of the organizational culture will systematically define Habits and Behaviors, align the company’s Intention, and blend the overarching company Cause with every strategic decision made. Each of these four layers is connected and compliments the other – system intelligence.