| 24 June, 2021 | 6 Min Read

Transforming company culture: 5 advice from Simon Sinek

Transforming the work culture at your company is not a day’s job. It is a crucial and delicate process. And Simon Sinek, a leadership expert, is offering five pieces of advice to help companies seeking to improve their work environment.

Astrong company culture plays a huge role in the success of a company. Employees are the backbone of a company’s productivity, and when there’s a fault in the structure of their execution, the company begins to experience a major setback.

If your company isn’t making any progress, chances are that a cultural transformation is long overdue.

While the cultural transformation process isn’t an entirely difficult task, you still need proper guidance to properly implement it. We will be highlighting a couple of professional advice from Simon Sinek that’ll help managers achieve the company culture that employees desire.

5 steps to transforming company culture

  1. 1
    Create a safe environment
  2. 2
    Focus more on your company’s values than making money
  3. 3
    Become best friends with the law of diffusion of innovations
  4. 4
    Be the leader you wish you had
  5. 5
    Give feedback and recognition

1. Create a safe environment

As the manager or CEO of a company, you get to experience the effects of a “Power Dynamic.” The existence of a power dynamic makes it impossible for employees to be honest about how they feel about your sense of leadership. Whether they like or fear you, the power dynamic restricts their self-expression.

To eliminate the power dynamic, you’d have to create an environment that makes them feel safe enough to give their feedback. And the best way to do this is by giving constructive critical advice. This advice is given in a manner that portrays care more than the need for improvement.

2. Focus more on your company’s values than making money

Simon believes that companies that have a total understanding of their company’s values tend to last longer in the market than companies that place their values on income. The passion behind your company drives it to outperform its competitors.

When the values of your company are put to action, a successful cultural transformation begins to occur. You are more concerned about how to maintain these values than the monetary income that comes from them. Your passion drives these values every time you put in work, which results in long-term success. However, working hard becomes stressful when your only drive is money-oriented.

3. Become best friends with the law of diffusion of innovations

According to Simon, all populations always sift across the standard deviation. If you have high performers in an organization, you’ll definitely have low and average performers. Using the bell curve, he highlighted the different types of people in the world;

  • Innovators – the people with big ideas
  • Early adopters – people who have the will to sacrifice their time and energy to be a part of something that supports their beliefs
  • Early majority & late majority - workers who will only put in more effort when there are extra benefits
  • Laggers – people who only put in efforts when they’re left with no choice.

Grove HR - 4 types of employees infographic

To attain your desired culture, he advises that you focus on how to convert the early and the late majority. And to do so, you need to ignore them, as they are not willing to try something new until others have tried it first. Instead, aim at the early adopters who are eager to do just about anything to be a part of a greater cause.

To get the attention of the early adopters;

Make the task slightly difficult

Early adopters see potentials. They do not want to take part in any task that could be done easily. When you make the task a little difficult, they see a challenge and step up to it.

Make it voluntary

Early adopters are innovative and do not like being forced to get things done. So, make the task voluntary and clarify that there are no benefits for being a part of that project.

Invite them to help you build it

At this stage, you spark their enthusiasm by inviting them to be a part of something big. Early adopters do not mind the time and energy it takes, they only want to feel proud of their achievement.

The early adopter portrays signs of senior leadership. Getting them to take part in a project is the only way to get the majority to get involved. This way, you have more than half of the company working together to achieve a specific goal.

4. Be the leader you wish you had

When introducing a new work culture to your company, the chances are that this newfound structure might not be acceptable at all levels. The leaders at higher levels may fail to acknowledge your ideas because they receive no extra benefits. Since you cannot change their minds, as there are limits to the things you can control, all you need to do is control yourself.

You must understand that being finite-minded has helped these leaders achieve their desired results. Breaking the status quo is only going to sound like a ridiculous idea. So you’d need to show some empathy and work on achieving an infinite mindset while creating trusting teams of like minds.

Although the whole company may not see the bigger picture, your team members do. They will also be proud of being a part of something big. So, they wake up feeling motivated when going to work. As time goes by, other teams begin to see the positive effect your work culture has on your team and begin to adopt it too.

You have to be the first one to implement practices that your team members can model after you.

5. Give feedback and recognition

Giving feedback and recognition is one way to ensure employee engagement. Simon advises managers to adopt his 360-degree feedback system. To do so, each team member is to write on paper what they believe their top three strengths and weaknesses are.

Afterwards, all answers are collated and distributed to the whole team. Then a meeting is held to assess this organizational feedback system. During this meeting, team members read their strengths and weaknesses out. Other team members are allowed to add to or counter the self-assessment exercise the team member has carried out.

The 360-degree feedback system allows communication at all levels. Where lower-level employees can assess their leaders without being afraid of punishments.

Nowadays, there are many tools to help you run 360-degree feedback faster and more discrete. Plus, you can customize the feedback questions that focus on your preferred areas of improvement.

The Bottom Line

The cultural transformation can only begin when employees are allowed to share their thoughts and ideas freely. Simon Sinek encourages managers and CEOs to be more approachable and open-minded when it comes to employees' opinions. Hence, to transform your company’s culture you’d need to do a lot of self-transformation too.

Keep your employees happy and motivated, and watch how they give your company their best and become more productive.

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