With the COVID-19 pandemic, political polarization, and civil disorder going on right now, the current business environment is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA). This state of VUCA has created a pivotal point that organizations must face if they want to survive and thrive in the future. Organizational leaders must create boundaries and policies to build a culture of trust and mutual respect. Failure to do so in today’s VUCA environment may result in catastrophic organizational cultural deterioration.
Cultural deterioration within an organization can create:
- High absenteeism
- Lack of motivation and initiative
- Guarded communication
- Fear or worry among staff
- Cynical attitudes and behaviors
- Aggressive or defensive behavior
Fixing a broken culture within an organization takes time and effort. For organizations facing this challenge fixing a deteriorating culture must be a strategic initiative. This strategic initiative should supersede departmental functional metrics to allow leadership to be focused, aligned, and vigilant in maintaining cultural boundaries and guidelines.
For this blog let’s look at a starting point for building an organizational culture of trust and respect:
Leaders should start by defining the organizational purpose. An organizational purpose is the foundation of why people connect with an organization and provides meaning for their work at the organization. Trust and respect develop over time and this statement facilitates collaboration across silos and through conflict. The purpose statement should permeate the culture of the organization to navigate it to its ultimate objective of building a culture of trust and respect. This statement also provides guidance to employees enhancing their motivation, commitment, and satisfaction in the organization.
After the purpose statement, leaders need to define organizational values, standards, and processes within the organization. These are not arbitrary words on a page but should be seen as the framework for organizational decision making. To build trust and respect leaders need to be committed to using these standards and personally demonstrating the defined values. When leading by example, employees can start to respect the values they see demonstrated and trust they are there to ensure their success as well as the success of the organization.
Start to build an organizational culture of trust and respect by laying a solid foundation of a purpose statement and then defining values, standards, and processes. These commonsense tools don’t seem to be common practice in many organizations today. Use these tools to intentionally start to take control of your organizational culture and thrive in the current and future business reality.