I could quote stacks of incredibly impressive research, by some of the top firms in the country, clearly showing that the single most important factor in creating highly loyal, satisfied and engaged CUSTOMERS is creating a culture of highly loyal, engaged and satisfied EMPLOYEES. In other words, culture = cash. If you want to build a winning company that can create and sustain success, it is essential you make creating a winning culture a major strategic objective. To help you do that, I’d like to recommend two books – both by the same authors – that will offer you a wealth of information, ideas and tools to help you create a fantastic culture, where your employees take superior care of your customers.
The first book, “The Orange Revolution,” written by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, is based on a 350,000-person survey into the characteristics of the most effective teams. What Elton and Gostick found is that there are four fundamental drivers, plus one additional supercharger of business success.
- Goal setting: knowing where you’re going
- Communication: wise use of your voice and years
- Trust: believing in others and being trustworthy
- Accountability: doing what you say you will do
- Recognition: appreciating others’ strengths
According to the authors, “The impact of these characteristics on the bottom line was irrefutable. When leaders combine these basic four leadership characteristics (as we call them) with frequent, purpose-based recognition, return on equity was more than three times the returns experienced by leaders who didn’t display these qualities, and team morale more than twice as high. In addition, the teams and offices rated most highly by employees for the basic four, plus recognition, also typically place in the top scores for customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and retention.”
Their follow-up book, “All In – How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Belief and Drive Big Results,” was again founded on a massive research study showing how engaged, enabled and energized cultures (E3) delivered a significant increase in organizational success and profitability. In this book, Gostick and Elton demonstrate that a positive organizational culture is one of the main drivers of business results, and to achieve those stellar results there are seven key areas that a business leader must focus on:
- Define your burning platform.
- Create a customer focus.
- Develop agility.
- Share everything.
- Partner with your talent.
- Root for each other.
- Establish clear accountability.
I have read dozens of books on corporate culture and how it can dramatically impact organizational success in either a very positive, or a very negative way. If you agree that culture is critical, then I strongly recommend these two books as a fantastic foundation for understanding precisely what you need to do to get your people energized, engaged and highly motivated to deliver outstanding products and services to your customers.
John Spence is the author of “Awesomely Simple – Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action,” and has twice been recognized as one of the top 100 business thought leaders in America and one of the country’s leading small business influencers. John has also read more than 100 business books a year since 1989. www.johnspence.com