Leadership Keynote Speaker Sam Silverstein’s mission is to empower people to live accountable lives, transform the way they do business, and to thrive at extraordinary levels. By challenging leaders to shift priorities, cultivate an organizational culture, and inspire both individuals and teams to take ownership in fresh and results-producing ways – he is helping companies dramatically increase productivity, profitability, and growth.
Sam is the author of seven books including Non-Negotiable, No More Excuses, Making Accountable Decisions, No Matter What, The Lost Commandments and The Success Model
As a former executive and owner, Sam’s manufacturing and distribution companies sold over $100 million in products and services. He successfully sold one of his businesses to a Fortune 500 company. Today, Sam writes, speaks, and consults with organizations around the globe to think differently, work with renewed purpose, and achieve record-breaking results. He works with entrepreneurs, multi-national companies, corporations, and government agencies to drive increased engagement and productivity.
What does organizational culture mean to you?
Organizational culture is the environment that leadership creates for the entire organization. Culture is what is accepted and repeated. Every organization has a culture. For some, it is a culture by design. For others, it is a culture by default. Only a culture by design will create a place where people feel valued, safe, engaged and ultimately people are free to achieve at their very best.
What are the major determinants of organizational culture?
An organizational culture is created and sustained through five steps.
The first step is to design the culture. A culture is designed with the values. The values of the organization, when lived consistently and committed to by everyone, will deliver a result. That result is the predetermined goal of what you want your culture to be. A great set of organizational values will address the character of the organization, relationships both inside and outside of the organization, what professionalism is inside the organization and how the organization supports their community.
The second step is that leadership must model the values. The values apply the same to everyone and that starts with leadership. Everyone is playing “Follow the Leader”. If the leader lives the values, then the people will also.
The third step to creating a culture is to teach the values to everyone in the organization. Everyone is responsible to live the values. They must be taught by talking about them constantly, sharing stories of when someone lived the values and the result they achieved and also share stories of when someone didn’t live the values and what happened then.
The fourth step is to protect the culture. You protect the culture by assuring that everyone is treated equally through the values and that everyone is living the values. If the top sales producer is not living the values, and you have modeled and taught the values, then you must let that person go. There is no place in an organization for someone who is not living the values. As soon as you allow one person to get away with not living the values then you have gone from a culture by design to a culture by default and you will never be your best as an organization.
What is the role of employees in organizational culture?
The employees are charged with the responsibility to live the values of the organization. They also should support their coworkers’ efforts to live the values. Each employee can model and teach the values to others around them.
What are the common problems associated with managing organizational culture?
You don’t manage a culture, you lead people. As a leader, the most effective tool you have are the values. When you value all people and treat all people the same through the values you will get a more powerful result. The challenge is to protect the culture and not allow anyone to remain in the organization who don’t believe in and live the values.
What are the ways to innovate company culture? Any best practices to share.
If an organization does not already have a great set of values I always encourage leadership to get a cross-section of people together to create those values. Get everyone involved. You will be amazed by the values they create and the ownership they take moving forward.
Once you start talking about your values never stop. When you stop talking about them the people feel that the values do not mean as much to you, their leader. Always, every time, talk about one or more of your values or how the values are showing up in every meeting you have.
When the leader believes the values then the values will show up in everything they do. When the leader is committed the people will be committed. Ultimately, your culture, as defined by your values, is the only unique part of your business. Products and services are mostly commodities. Your people and the culture you surround them with can and will set you apart and position you to lead your industry.