The reality of leading an organization into becoming a “being” of its own is damn hard work. It takes a lot of money, time, effort, and even more commitment. The test of time is the biggest test that your program faces. It sounds like no big deal, but time can make your program a success or a failure.
This is one of the things experts like Dr. Bob Nelson, Adrian Gostick, Chester Elton, Gallup, Recognition Professionals International, and so on won’t tell you. It’s taken time and hard work for Crystal D to get where we are today with our recognition programs. I follow these experts and have learned a lot from them. What they have to say is important, and you need to listen to them.
But they don’t like to talk about the dark side because it’s not pretty and can be very discouraging. And time is part of that dark side.
In order to create a culture, you need time to plan, time to implement, time to evaluate, and time to make changes. You need time to pass so that year after year the layers of your program can build, creating an element of tradition or predictability that your organization can count on.
You need time in order to allow people who don’t want to ride on your bus to get off, so you can hire people who do want to ride on your bus.
To figure out how you want this program to change and grow, you need time.
You need to give your employees time to choose to join your movement.
Sometimes you need to focus on getting business done and culture stuff takes a backseat.
The dark side doesn’t stop with time! It gets easier, but it doesn’t stop. The other thing the experts won’t tell you is that without managers that truly believe in your culture, your program is doomed. Managers make it or break it. If your program isn’t working the way you’d like, look first at yourself and ask yourself if you are doing what you will say you will do. Then look at your managers. Odds are there is a disconnect within yourself or with one of your fellow leaders that is creating a weakness in the effectiveness of your program.
I had a manager who “talked the talk” during manager meetings and always said the right things on stage at company events but behind the scenes was discrediting everything we were doing. She was catty, dishonest, and divisive. But it took me awhile before I realized that she was snowing me.
Her influence was so strong that it eventually split the company. Some employees sided with her and others refused to, creating a feeling of tension that subtly presided over the company. Eventually, we fired her for a slew of performance issues, and when she left, her truth came to light. I saw clearly how her influence had cast a gray cloud over the attitude and environment in her former department. My employees were happy when this two-faced manager was finally gone. Her divisive nature was distracting. Employees who wanted to enjoy their careers with Crystal D found her to be difficult to work with. All of this negativity and two-facedness put a giant “HALT” sign on our progress in terms of culture-building.
Leaders within your organization that don’t believe in what you are doing are your single worst enemy. Don’t be surprised when they show up because they will. Just keep your eyelids wide open, so you recognize their influence before their self-proclaimed “HALT” sign becomes a permanent fixture.
Time and managers aren’t the only secret the experts aren’t telling you. I’ve got three more secrets to uncover for you in my next few posts. Busting open these secrets could help your company get on the recognition track! Stay tuned!