shifting your culture

Shifting your culture with one message

If you were to simplify your company’s reason for existence to one word or one short sentence, what would it be? You may be finding this difficult, as it isn’t always easy to pin things down to one word thing. But when doing so, try to distill all the key messages coming from your CEO, the most senior leaders, your mission, vision, strategy and values down to one word. What do you come up with?

If you had trouble distilling your company’s key message are you are not alone. A key message or elevator pitch if you like, is core to what your company is about. Unfortunately these key messages are often lost in the complex layers and volume of messages that are active in your company at any one time.

If you managed to distill your key message, try this experiment to determine the effect.  Next time you are in a meeting repeat your key message like a mantra over and over in your head, as if it was on the radio in the background, playing the tune of your company.  Let it permeate your thoughts, feelings and actions.  Let it help you guide the decisions and the actions you take. Then post your meeting consider what effect (positive or otherwise) it is having on what you are doing for your company.

Finding and knowing your company’s core message is paramount for you and the people, as it provides the true north for the actions you take. Often we find ourselves and our leaders waxing and waning from your companies stated purpose, saying things like ‘it is all about the customer’ but then focus on other actions (e.g. cost cutting) that are likely to be sending your people the message ‘it is all about shareholder’.  So what is the impact of this?

Well, see for yourself. Try the mantra exercise in two more meetings, but in one think about ‘customer’ (i.e. delivering a great customer experience) and in another think about ‘shareholder’ (i.e. more revenues and lower costs).  Two important forces in shaping decisions, but see what a difference it can make in your actions and decisions.  You may argue that ‘I am thinking about shareholders, but using the customer to get there’ – for the sake of this challenge keep your focus exclusively on each one and experience the difference.

A strong corporate culture is all about having your key message ringing in your peoples’ ears as they make decisions and take actions.  Those actions will quickly become the evidence points that enable your customers to understand what your brand is about and what you really stand for.

Let me know how you go finding your key message in the comments.