The People First Cultural Accelerator . . . Creating the People First Experience

The Secret to Rock Solid Business Success … It’s all about Culture!

Corporate culture is a hot topic today. Leaders who want to attract and retain the best talent, engage and inspire their Purpose Partners (at People First International, we prefer the term “Purpose Partners” to the impersonal word “employees”), bring their organization’s values to life, and create a customer service experience that is second to none will pay attention to their company’s culture each and every day. And, unlike capital investments, building a winning culture doesn’t cost a penny!

Culture is the ultimate competitive advantage. It is a tangible asset—culture is not intangible or mere “fluff,” as some believe. Culture is one of the most powerful business drivers, and it requires ongoing attention to ensure consistent, sustainable success. You cannot simply rely on your products and/or services and healthy cash flow. You must pay attention to your internal environment; your culture is the environment in which your vision, business strategy, goals, and brand identity will with thrive or slowly diminish and die.

Your business culture is as important as your corporate strategy. Leaders of hugely successful businesses—such as Southwest Airlines, Zappos, Whole Foods, Starbucks, In-And-Out Burger, and Nordstrom, to name just a few—are quick to attribute their company’s success to their organizational culture.

So . . .

Do you pay attention to your culture?

Do you even know what your culture is? Can you describe it?

What kind of a culture do you want? Do you want a healthy culture or an indifferent culture?

How are you contributing? Are you making positive deposits into your culture OR are you unintentionally making it toxic?

Does your culture inspire you and your Purpose Partners? OR does it hinder success, creating frustration and anxiety?

What is driving your culture? Power and ego? Or encouragement and empowerment?

Take the time to get a read on the health of your culture – check out The People First Cultural Accelerator . . . Creating the People First Experience.

What are Culture-Conscious Leaders Doing?

Leaders of many of the world’s most successful companies devote concentrated attention to their internal culture. They understand that their Purpose Partners don’t merely impact the bottom line; they ARE the bottom line! And so wise leaders pay attention to how people are treated. They understand the importance of creating an internal culture that treats every member with the utmost dignity and respect.

The best leaders recognize the power of a healthy culture, seeing it as a living and breathing organism that requires consistent attention. They are very deliberate and intentional about how they shape and sustain their culture. They know their culture; they can define their culture. They also know how they are contributing to the health of their organization’s culture . . . or its inertia.

What is culture?

Organizational culture can be referred to as the glue that keeps an organization together. It’s more about how things get done than what gets done. When a new Purpose Partner is “learning the ropes,” he or she is actually learning the culture.Culture is a blend of beliefs, values, attitudes, and actions that, when mixed together, can either create a happy, joyful, and productive environment . . . or create pain, unhappiness, low energy, lack of passion, and decreased productivity. The late Stephen Covey described culture as “the psychological air” of an organization.For some, gaining an accurate understanding of cultural health is as elusive as trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. However, culture really isn’t that difficult to grasp. It simply needs to be displayed in frank terms that you can understand. A cultural assessment, such as our People First Cultural Health Indicator, is the best vehicle for helping you reach that understanding.

Elements of a Healthy Culture

A healthy culture flourishes with a set of clearly defined values and behaviors that naturally guide the way Purpose Partners operate. A healthy culture—a People First culture—is one where values, mission, and vision are consistently communicated and understood, and Purpose Partners are invited to actively participate and passionately engage with the business. Purpose Partners in a healthy culture function with a sense of confidence and empowerment, rather than muddling through unclear procedures and tangled bureaucracy. All Purpose Partners are treated with honor, dignity, and respect in a healthy culture. There is a high level of trust between leaders and their direct reports; people genuinely care about each other. Leaders practice humility. They think more about their Purpose Partners and less about themselves. Mutual accountability is alive and well; Purpose Partners agree to be an example of always treating everyone in the organization exceptionally well.

The benefits of shaping a healthy and vibrant culture – a People First Culture:

  • Clarity – Everyone in the organization, including the CEO, knows what the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors are; everyone is in sync.
  • Focus – Everyone in the organization is aligned and focused on the vision, mission, and goals. They know what needs to be done and how it will be done.
  • Employee Engagement – Purpose Partners are inspired and loyal. They do their work because they want to, not merely because they have to.
  • Community – A healthy culture builds team cohesiveness, collaboration, cooperation and connection—both within departments and among the various departments and divisions.

Healthy cultures consistently demonstrate superior financial growth, high Purpose Partner engagement, strong internal communication, and an enthusiastic acceptance of a healthy level of risk-taking in order to achieve new levels of innovation.

How Can I Know How Healthy My Culture Is? What Can I Do?

How about asking the people who live in that culture? Ask your Purpose Partners: “How are we doing?” Conduct a cultural assessment. Seeking feedback from your Purpose Partners is essential; a well-administered assessment will help you discover what they are thinking and feeling. A cultural health assessment seeks to uncover the reality that exists for your Purpose Partners; it is not what leadership believes exists that drives the effectiveness of your organization’s actions. A cultural health assessment uncovers the actual perceptions, experiences, and the actions (or non-actions) of Purpose Partners at all levels within your organization. Ultimately, those perceptions and experiences determine customer satisfaction and your ability to meet and/or exceed your financial goals.At People First International, we have worked tirelessly to develop a validated, Internet-based cultural survey (a powerful diagnostic tool), known as the People First Cultural Health Indicator (CHI). “Cultural Health Indicator” is an apt name, because it clearly defines the healthy and the unhealthy behaviors of an organization’s culture.Forget about frills and fluff … We measure what MATTERS! The CHI solicits the opinions, experiences, perspectives, and conclusions of Purpose Partners regarding the cultural elements which are key drivers in supporting your quest to meet strategic business goals. The People First Cultural Health Indicator provides meaningful data that will support your leadership in creating and sustaining a culture that attracts, energizes, and retains talent, while improving your bottom line and increasing shareholder value.

What We Measure

We believe that a company’s culture is its basic personality—the essence of how people interact and work. Culture is the self-regulating and self-sustaining pattern of behaviors that determine how things are done. Therefore, a robust cultural assessment must focus on what matters: beliefs and behaviors. Our People Fist Cultural Health Indicator does just that! We go straight to the heartbeat of your organization. We assess your culture, utilizing the 10 People First Leadership Core Beliefs and 78 specific leadership behaviors.Here is a sample of one People First Leadership Core Belief and the core behaviors that illustrate that core belief in action. (The entire People First Cultural Health Indicator identifies and measures 78 specific behaviors.)Core Belief #2 – EXAMPLEYou believe that a leader serves as an ambassador, who provides the organization with a living example of truth, wisdom, and excellence.

Example in ActionBehaviors that are measured in the CHI within this Core Belief

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We developed this survey with the specific intent of providing a clear methodology for honoring the human spirit, while at the same time raising your ROI. We believe we have accomplished this by creating a validated, robust, and “invasive” (but user-friendly) Internet-based survey, as well as a comprehensive, systematic process for assessing, analyzing, and transforming organizational cultures.

The People First CHI Aids You in Your Quest to:

  • Predict your company’s capacity for success and develop a competitive advantage
  • Create a robust, healthy, and vibrant culture
  • Measure leadership effectiveness – (People leave bosses, not companies)
  • Determine Purpose Partner engagement and genuine commitment levels
  • Identify healthy and unhealthy touch points to determine what leaders need to do more of and less of in order to create a healthy, high-engagement culture
  • Measure levels of trust and respect, unhappiness and fear, and much more. . .

Even Better, Though, Are the REWARDS Your Leadership Team Will Collect!

  • Actively engaged leaders
  • Passionate and focused Purpose Partners
  • Increased teamwork and collaboration
  • Greater Purpose Partner attraction and retention
  • Improved customer service
  • Better communication
  • Higher levels of productivity
  • Improved decision-making capabilities
  • Increased commitment to attaining strategic initiatives
  • Greater capacity to partner across your organization
  • Expanded competitive advantages

The question everyone asks is HOW we make it happen …

The People First Methodology

Using the People First Cultural Health Indicator, we provide a comprehensive overview of your culture by collecting both quantitative and qualitative data. Without both types of data, you only get one piece of the puzzle.Quantitative numbers alone do not capture the total picture. The stories collected during the qualitative phase are equally important; our qualitative results provide you with deeper insight than the numbers alone can offer you. Frequently the quantitative results support the stories, and the stories corroborate the numbers. However, there are also times when the stories are not consistent with the numbers and actually provide a clearer, more comprehensive picture of what is actually occurring within your organization.The use of open-ended questions provides your Purpose Partners with the opportunity to freely tell their story—to express what life is like for them and share their reality. The qualitative data puts a human face on the numbers and creates a heartfelt connection between you and your Purpose Partners.The qualitative data:

  • Provides information about the “human” side – beliefs, behaviors, opinions, emotions, and relationships of your Purpose Partners.
  • Gives Purpose Partners the opportunity to reveal their authentic selves—their aspirations and the things they hold most dear.

The Best 20-Minute Investment Your Purpose Partners Can Make ...

The People First Cultural Accelerator…creating the People First Experience! uses the traditional Likert Scale (rated from 1-5) to measure the individual responses to a combination of 78 quantitative statements. On the qualitative end, we include a minimum of three open-ended questions, which allow Purpose Partners to share their stories. The open-ended questions are co-created and can be fully customized for each organization. We can include up to two additional open-ended questions in the event that there is a particular topic or issue you wish to collect data on.The CHI survey only takes about 20 minutes to complete. Let your Purpose Partners know you care; engage them in this discovery process! Gain their insight; get to know how they feel, understand how they experience you, and discover how they view other leaders within your organization. Get to know your culture from the eyes of those who experience it viscerally every day!Begin NOW to define your culture, and then you will be richly equipped to take intentional and deliberate steps to shape and nurture your culture. Ignoring the health of your culture is like ignoring the weeds that threaten to overrun your vegetable garden. The outcome is not profitable!You can unleash the untapped potential of all your Purpose Partners by focusing on important, healthy behaviors, holding everyone (including leadership) accountable, and rewarding those who live out those behaviors on a daily basis. It is time to harness the power of your Purpose Partners’ emotions and give them what they want: the opportunity to work in a positive, People First culture that treats them with honor, dignity, and respect!