How to Cultivate a Culture of Excellence:
1. An Organizational Vision is Communicated and Understood
It’s not enough to simply have a stated organizational vision. To achieve a Culture of Excellence, every employee must understand not only the company’s vision, but also know their own roles, responsibilities and the specific actions they need to take in order to help achieve this vision.
2. Clear Purpose and Meaning
In a Culture of Excellence, employees feel that what they are working on is meaningful, significant, and purpose-based. Everyone concerned is highly inspired by the common purpose, which becomes the driving force behind everything that they do.
3. Mastery of Roles and Focus on High Performers
Most companies unconsciously concentrate on problem solving and end up rewarding mediocrity. In fact, many managers actually empower their low performers by focusing their time and energy on trying to solve their problems—while ignoring their high performers. Those high performers eventually leave because they aren’t being rewarded for their hard work. Companies with a Culture of Excellence set an expectation of high performance organization-wide. Every employee is supported and encouraged to become a master in their role and area of expertise. High performers are nurtured, rewarded, mentored and recognized, and average performers are coached to move into the high performance category. In these cultures, there is no place for low performers, and they either move up or leave the organization.
4. Resilience to Change and Challenges
In most organizations, when change or challenges occur, employees become distracted and lose focus on the organizational vision and goals. In a Culture of Excellence, employees develop the flexibility and resilience to deal with change, challenge and uncertainty. Even when there are obstacles and challenges that may seem impossible to overcome, the motivation to achieve the organizational vision is higher than the urge to avoid the discomfort. With that clarity of purpose and a strong desire to succeed, they push through the barriers and move forward toward their vision. Managers support their teams in staying focused and on track, despite difficulties and challenges.
5. Highly Collaborative Teams
Most of us have worked at companies where the silo mentality reigns. Teams and individuals closely guard their expertise, projects and knowledge. Collaboration across teams is nearly non-existent unless forced. A key feature of a Culture of Excellence is highly collaborative teams—both internal and external. Because every employee and all teams are working together toward a common organizational vision, they feel they are on the same side. And because this collaboration is encouraged and rewarded from the top down, there is no more reason to protect individual roles, projects or expertise.
6. Pioneer Mentality
Most companies that achieve a Culture of Excellence do not settle for the mediocre. Instead, they are focused on creating something that has never been created before, breaking records and achieving unprecedented results. From the outside, it may seem as if they are achieving the impossible. The resulting energy, excitement and drive, creates a certain positive tension that reverberates throughout the company. Employees and teams are encouraged to explore, nurture and co-create to achieve common goals.