Today’s insights are brought to you by my colleague and Future of People expert Buhle Dlamini.
What if we hired and fired people based on their values? Wouldn’t that be something? To be able to hire and fire people based on whether their values and behaviours are aligned with the organisation’s values. The only challenge is that most leaders don’t know what they stand for well enough to be able to take such a stance.
Building a team culture that helps everyone in your organisation feel valued and empowered to do their best work should be a priority for every organisation. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
We tend to prioritise other things instead. We often pay more attention on where our teams work, how long they work and what tools they use. We don’t often spend time thinking about the culture of the team.
To unleash the greatness of your team, you need to pay close attention to what kind of team culture you create, promote, and protect. Team culture reflects your shared values and working practices, and it will be formed by both collective and individual actions within the team.
Without a healthy and well-defined team culture, it’s easy to slip into a toxic or unproductive culture. As reported by HR magazine, as many as 27% of UK employees quit their job due to toxic workplace culture. Good team culture is an important ingredient in attracting and retaining great talent.
One CEO, Tommy Mello, founder of A1 Garage Door, found out the hard way how one employee’s attitude can cost the whole company a lot more than what they bring in. Tommy’s CFO told him to fire their top sales star. Even though he was bringing in big business to the company, his attitude was demoralising to the rest of the team.
At first, the CEO was reluctant to let the top star go, but he knew the CFO was right. The top sales star’s attitude and values were awful for team spirit: he didn’t follow any of the rules, was always late, he was rude to colleagues and clients and believed that he was irreplaceable because of the amount of business he brought in.
The CEO decided it was time to stand by the values they wanted everyone in the company to abide by, so they let their top employee go. To their surprise, the company’s profits went up. By setting the example of letting go of one individual who was bringing in the business but not living the company values, the decision earned the respect of other team members and boosted morale.
Once the toxic individual, who thrived in the chaos, was removed, the rest of the team rose to the challenge. Collaboration went up, productivity and sales followed.
The question for every leader should come down to what are some of the values, attitudes and behaviours that will make our team culture great? How can we work towards celebrating, promoting, and protecting these every day? Can we fire and hire people based on these values? When we can be that clear about what sets our team culture apart then we are on the path to Unleashing Our Team’s Greatness.
The way we think about people working together in organisations continues to change. We need to apply new ways of thinking about all aspects of people working together: Teamwork, Organisational Culture, Belonging, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. That’s what the future of people is about!
Buhle Dlamini is an expert on the Future of People, helping organizations unleash the greatness of their people through keynotes, workshops and tailored engagements.