Creating the best work culture

The work culture is the key to high performance. More important, influencing the work culture is a manager's best opportunity for creating high performance. "Culture" is a 24-hours-a-day training program that exists inside any organization. It's teaching and influencing all the time. Sometimes it's teaching what we like it to teach, and sometimes it's not. It's very difficult to "swim upstream" against the culture. For example, you can teach value added and long-term relationships all you want, but if the work culture is really about short-term, adversarial relationships with clients, that's what you're going to get--that plus a lot of confusion. The best of all possible worlds is a consistent, positive, reinforcing culture--and good sales managers are discovering that the best way to leverage their efforts is to manage the culture. After more than 10 years of research, we've come up with five factors that are critical to creating and maintaining a high-performance work culture. Listed in order of importance, they are: 1. A Shared Sense Of Mission Or Purpose. It's the culture equivalent to purpose. It answers the questions "What's expected around here, what do we do, and why do we do it?" If the only answer that you have is "making money," be prepared for your people to ask for as much as they can get for doing as little as they can. On the other hand, if you've taken the time to establish a mission--and especially if you've taken the time to involve your people in the process--that larger sense of mission will help people focus on achieving their part of the mission. 2. Clear and Attainable Goals. People perform best when they have specific goals. Goals that are reachable yet that stretch them. Don't tell people what to do, or how to do it, but give them the map, the destination, and sometimes the general direction in which to start. 3. Frequent Objective Feedback. People learn quickly and work well when they are told how they're doing. Debrief and summarize every joint call you make. Don't assume that people know how they're doing or know what you think. Lead with positive information first, but always be honest, objective, and specific. Help your people learn from every selling experience. 4. Positive Rewards For Appropriate Or Approximate Performance. Selling is like playing tennis: Very few people get it right the first time. Sincere, positive reinforcement ("You did that really well." "You really understand this." "You're doing a great job.") helps people learn. Catch people doing something right, and tell them about it. 5. Timely Support And Help When Requested Or Needed. This is an issue of priorities for most sales managers. It's deciding what your job is. Are you there to track numbers and quotas, or are you there to support your people? Clearly, both jobs have to be done, but the job of coach is the critical job in creating a high-performance team. Sited from