As associations strive to strengthen workplace culture, creating “collaborative,” “innovative,” and “results-driven” environments is at the top of many organizations’ to-do lists. But using these types of buzzy adjectives can actually have a negative effect, according to a report from Gartner, which surveyed leaders about effective ways to transform culture.
“Often the chosen buzzword is at odds with how the company actually operates,” says Harvard Business Review. “That causes what Bryan Kurey, Gartner’s managing vice president for HR research, calls a say/do gap: Employees see leaders’ cultural aspirations as hypocritical.”
Instead, leaders should focus less on labeling the ideal culture and more on practicing it. That means adjusting the organization’s policies to support transformation.
“As the leader, you need to set up the structures, processes, and incentives in your organization and put your money where your mouth is,” Kurey said in an interview with HBR. “That’s the part of leadership people often miss—enabling your organization to actually adopt the new culture you seek to have.”
And don’t forget about team member feedback, either. Make sure employee surveys include open-response questions so leaders see the raw feedback rather than the aggregated, generic results that can come from multiple-choice options.
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