Revitalize Your Workplace by Enhancing Employee Engagement & Commitment
“Like a garden, organizational culture develops whether or not you design it. If you ignore it, it continues to grow, just not necessarily in the ways you might have hoped.” – David Lapin
Practice culture is really all about the experience of the people who work there and is possibly the most critical factor determining your practice’s effectiveness over the long-term. Your culture has a direct impact on employee motivation and engagement as well as both individual and organizational performance. A healthy and purposeful culture is a significant factor that can tie directly to positive bottom-line results. Shaping the culture of the practice is one of the most important responsibilities of positional leaders.
Culture is our shared set of beliefs and mindsets, reflected through our behaviors and supported by our organizational systems (policies, processes, protocols, etc.). It’s the norms we live by and culture is generally a reflection of individual and collective values.
To simplify, culture has two facets. There’s the part that’s easily observed at first glance, like how the workplace is organized, how people dress, etc. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What really defines an organization’s culture are the things that lie below the surface, things like notions of leadership and authority, assumptions, biases, emotions, and habitual ways of being.
On a day-to-day basis, a team’s capacity to develop a healthy, effective working climate is crucial for the team to be successful. Your team climate is observable, can be influenced and changed, and a positive climate correlates directly with productivity and innovation.
Climate can be assessed in a variety of ways such as by noting the degree to which employees feel emotional safety in their relationships, how much they understand the organization’s goals and how their job responsibilities help meet those goals, and to what extent they interact with spontaneity and ease.
In many veterinary practices, there is little to no focus on the working climate. Discussions about team performance tend to be limited to operational, “surface” issues – processes, procedures, tasks and so on. What most of us don’t dare to talk about are the taboo issues, the things beneath the surface. Yet these are so often precisely the things that get in the way of the team’s effectiveness.
Extraordinary teams have, among other things, open communication structures and effective conflict management strategies. Leaders and individual team members alike readily notice when the team climate is less than optimal and put it up on the table as a challenge to solve together.
“The truly great places to work aren’t great because of their perks and benefits, but because of their organizational cultures and policies that promote meaningful work and a nurturing supportive workplace.” – Neal Chalofsky
- The critical importance of organizational culture/team climate and the negative impact of “toxic” people
- Key characteristics of great company cultures
- Essential elements for optimal motivation and employee engagement
- The positional leader’s role in cultivating a flourishing culture
- Read 2020 is the Decade of Culture-First Organizations by Gustavo Razzetti
- Read A Business Case for Optimal Motivation by The Ken Blanchard Company
- Read Creating the Best Workplace on Earth by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones
- (Optional) Watch Dan Pink’s RSA Animate Video, “The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us”
- Quick “Next Stage” Assessment
Use the document to perform a self-assessment on your practice to see how you stack up compared to progressive organizations across a variety of industries. Note both strengths and opportunities for change.
- Team Climate Assessment
Share the document with your team members and ask them to complete the ratings. Then, facilitate a conversation as a group to make sense of the data. The assessment helps you explore team attitudes around conflict plus perceptions regarding trust, safety, “togetherness,”and emotional intelligence.
- Choose Your Own Adventure
Use an activity or tool of your choice to facilitate a needed conversation related to your practice culture/team climate.
Other Team Conversation Tools
- World From My Chair Exercise (to explore each person’s current reality)
- Team Trust Assessment (using Charles Feltman’s four-part framework)
- Defining Your Why (to help you co-create a purpose statement with your team)
- Simple Rules Exercise (to operationalize core values)
- TRIZ Exercise (to clear space for innovation by inviting creative destruction)
- 10 Principles of Emergent Organizations by Sam Spurlin
- Building a Culture of Presence at Work by Georgina Mirand
- Eight Ways to Foster a Culture of Trust by Paul J. Zak
- How Great Companies Think Differently by Rosabeth Moss Kanter
- How to Transform Company Culture from Toxic to Trusting by Heal Ventures
- Managing with the Brain in Mind by David Rock
- The Critical Few: Components of a Truly Effective Culture by Jon Katzenbach, Rutger Von Post and James Thomas
- The Future of Management is Teal by Frederic Laloux
- To Foster Innovation, Cultivate a Culture of Intellectual Bravery by Timothy R. Clark
- What Do We Owe to Others with a Culture of Feedback? by Courtney Branson
This AdvanceVET session is made possible by…