Successful executive leadership happens in an environment where culture supports initiatives. Culture comprises of the value system, norms, beliefs and the pattern people in an organisation carry on practices or business activities which distinguishes them from any other body. Culture is mostly embedded and are self-reinforcing behaviours, beliefs and mind-set of people used in reaching performance-based actions.
Executive leader’s first responsibility is to define the culture that should regulate their activities. This is because any initiative that has no positive culture support to drive it will be killed by the negative forces against culture development. To build a performance-based culture, executives create a core-value blue print which are a set of beliefs and assumptions used in modelling a standard behaviour to create cohesion, identify and drive performance. It becomes the accepted way for transacting business activities in a workplace. While core values are foundational concepts, the planning and actions that are required to transform aspirations to expectations are built on key performance indices.
It is the responsibility of executive leaders to define and embed the workplace culture in terms of the following
1) The attires of their workers both on-site and offsite.
2) Safety standards and attitude to safety tool box kits.
3) Physical structure branding.
4) Language, greetings, symbols and norms.
5) Core values of the organisation.
6) Social ceremonies and rituals.
The discipline of building a great leadership culture should permeate the entire organisation to create disciplined people who execute actions smartly. It helps the leader to identify what the people are best at doing, the passion behind the feat, which they integrate into their plan, to build a performance based organisation.
It is culture that drives organisations to performance and not the slogans of vision, mission and statements. Any vision, mission and statement not supported with strong culture values will always fail. This is eloquently evident in several failed organisations which had “state of the art” mission statement but lacked the culture to support them.
Executive leaders can build a culture driven, performance based organisations by doing the following.
- Treating team members and company talents with respect and not like commodities that can be bought and disposed of at will.
- Building trust by being inclusive in matters affecting their work, welfare and this should be applied with long term goals as it affects performance.
- Showing to team members examples of how to lead by humility and empathy.
- Creating a friendly atmosphere that promote healthy dialogue and showing respect to the opinion of others while not shutting them down.
- Promoting general interest above all self-interest, and not being selfish.
- Executing plans that bring credibility to the organisation and not those that emphasize individual attainments.