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Committees Can Institutionalize Your Culture

Committees Can Institutionalize Your Culture
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Maintaining alignment with your organization’s Core Identity requires regular, systematic attention. Forming committees dedicated to this effort is a critical part of Reinforcing Systems. In this excerpt from The Shift from Me to Team, which will be published this year, we outline the process.

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Committees Can Institutionalize Your Culture

In our work with an organization, when we end the Culture Clarification retreat, we ask team members to identify Essential Success Factors and Critical Failure Factors to ensure the Core Identity becomes the organization’s compass. What will guarantee success in aligning the organization to its Core Identity? What can prevent this effort from succeeding?

Our clients create several committees to assess where they are and where they need to be, and how to implement required adjustments to better align themselves with the Core Identity. Clients have consistently and successfully formed committees to institutionalize their Core Identity. They generally create 4-6 committees. Some committees are the same across organizations. For example, most organizations have recognition programs to highlight exemplary performance by team members. The Rewards and Recognition Committee’s initial job is to realign how and why it recognizes excellence. Team members will now be acknowledged and recognized for exemplifying the organization’s Core Identity—its Purpose, Vision, and Guiding Principles—which is vital to developing new habits. They will not be recognized for anything else. If it is not in alignment with their Peak Performance Culture, it should not be recognized.

From the CEO of a manufacturing company

“We created committees—culture, hiring, and awards—for what I used to take responsibility. Now, they’re automatic; there’s a system in place when someone gets hired/onboarded. We meet with them to see how they are doing from time to time. If they’re not fitting with what we’re trying to accomplish, we act quickly to help them or get them out. Before, we used to let people linger because they’re good at X part of their job, so they’ll figure the rest out. That is when we find ourselves in a gray area no one likes. Because of the systems, everyone knows what we’re trying to accomplish. Confusion is addressed quickly.”

The work of Core Identity committees is distributed to team members representing diverse parts of the organization. Leadership asks for volunteers. We encourage identifying emerging leaders—even those who may not see themselves as leaders or may not have a conventional leadership background—but are passionate about what the organization can become. Most are honored when asked to participate, and they take their responsibility seriously.

The impact of these committees cannot be underestimated. These committees become influencers who penetrate every aspect of the organization. The natural desire to work together becomes a force needed to address the doubters. Doubters do surface and they do not want to see this culture realized. These committees may be the most impactful initiative to create sustainable movement toward achieving your Peak Performance Culture.

From a university medical department chair

“We definitely use our Guiding Principles in hiring. We have a hiring and retention committee, and they’ve come up with a series of questions to assess someone’s Cultural Fit in our institution relative to the Guiding Principles. Occasionally we make mistakes. You hire someone and they’re not quite the fit you thought they were going to be. But we haven’t made any big mistakes. You invest a lot of money up front, and if they don’t work out and they leave, you’ve invested the money without getting anything back.”

Again, each organization will create its committees based on their response to the Essential Success Factors and Critical Success Factors to ensure successful Culture adoption. Each organization is unique and understands what committees it needs to reinforce the clarified Core Identity properly.

From the CEO of a branding agency

“I had been in charge of all personnel transactions. I was in charge of those relationships, in charge of what was in bounds and out-of-bounds. I spent a lot of time trying to deal with people and issues. Because the team became the writer of the rules, and therefore the enforcer of the rules, I can step back and watch, and step in only when it’s truly necessary. It’s become self-monitoring. Because the team came up with it, they are empowered to make sure that we all are in-bounds. We’ve created the company DNA; it takes care of itself.”

Committees Set Bottom-up Disciplines

  • Committees reinforce the Shift from Me to Team, integrating the Core Identity into every aspect of the organization’s operations.
  • The committees reinforce the Shift from Me to Team by putting decision-making into the hands of groups of team members from any level of the organization. Responsibility for the organizational alignment is shifted from leadership alone to the entire team.
  • The committees reinforce the use of powerful storytelling to connect “doing” to “feeling” at its best.
  • Their work reinforces a positive mindset, celebrating successes that set them up for more successes.
  • Every committee reinforces the Core Identity by ensuring continual growth aligned to the Purpose, Vision, and Guiding Principles as their only goal.
  • While Committee members work to reinforce the organization’s Core Identity, perhaps, more importantly, they are also internalizing personal alignment in their hearts and minds.