There are always three phases of a company,
- What it was (past)
- What and where it is today (present)
- And where the company is headed and where you are driving it. (prospect)
The Past – What It Was
Many have fond memories of what the company was, often those long-serving employees look back and reminisce of what it was and how it used to operate. As soon as it moves on and often matures, employees will look to leave or look to evolve outside of the company.
The Present – What And Where It Is Today
Many will struggle with what the company is, what it is, how it acts, how it operates and how to it being seen and understood today, this is often the job of the management team to really take those on the journey around them and help the teams come to terms with its evolution and how it will act for a specific time period.
The now and near term future is often the hardest to manage, as the company has evolved, will have to evolve again and will be the time to build for the future without losing your best talent who experienced change.
The Prospect – Where We Are Headed
The challenging phase for many to buy into and see is where the company is headed for the longer term, many will take growing pains and allow steps to make to improve the working environment and product shifts but without the vision is clear and aligned, many will make their minds up to stay for the long term or set a window to leave.
Rule To Guide You
The sliding scale to be aware of:
Company culture is often given a nine-month grace cycle by employees,
- 0 months what is going on
- 1-3 months understand what is happening and where I stand
- 3-6 months what’s happening now and where are we going vs the previous period
- 6-9 months this is the place I can work in and thrive in or this is the place I have to leave for my career.
If your manage to enable those to go back into a previous category you likely have had a positive effect.
Often when intentional and deliberate (and open) communication and long term plan is lost, you are proactively pushing team members into the next category and that is always bad news.
Understand & Lead
As a manager, I would highly recommend understanding at what phase of these nine months your colleagues and team members are and what levers you should pull to add clarity and reduce confusion around where the company is and where it is headed and how it will continue to evolve.
Being able to have discussed phases and directions always helps shape individuals outlooks and points of view on their career in or outside of a business.
Business Performance = Company Culture x Company Strategy
Company strategy and clarity of the strategy helps to shape the business performance and when paired with the company culture, this helps shape your workforce for the long term and helps you to place both performance indicators together on a level playing field and really drive an organisation forward.
Your New Compass
Without a vision, people will question you as a leadership team and question the compass they have to follow.
Without a mission many will question the why and what are we offering
Without a clear strategy for the next twelve months, this will raise numerous questions and concerns and many people need something to tie into more than a set of OKR’s and goals.
Crystal Clear Clarity
If a team member cannot understand why it has changed, where it will continue to change and where you are headed, you will not be in a place where you can retain top staff, you can sell a vision to attract top staff vs a competitor or large brand and you will not be in a place to lead to truly articulate your current phase to the ELT or board.
Moving forward learn that the past informs the present and helps to shape the important future of your employee experience but also many people’s careers.
The leadership team have to be mindful and proactive in leading from the front and providing clarity at each step, especially when you have decided to mature a business or looking to be acquired and the internal focus and culture shifts.