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16 Dec. 2013 | Comments (0)

As I discussed in my last blog, leaders need to be better at preparing their organizations for change in order to continually find and deliver on new, transient competitive advantages.  And as I mentioned, culture plays a big part in ensuring an organization can drive innovation and be prepared for more regular change.  Based on our experience at Sirota, cultures that are based on “partnership” principles are more likely to succeed in a dynamic and changing environment.  Unfortunately, according to our estimates, very few organizations we have observed would have what we would consider to be a “partnership” culture.  Most are either “Parental” environments where there is a co-dependency between people and management.  Or “Transactional” cultures where workers and their companies are operating as if they are just exchanging services for one another.   And some even fall into the “Adversarial” category where management and workers are constantly at odds. 

So, how can you foster a “partnership” culture every day? While it takes constant work and re-enforcement of “partnership” principles, here are a few basic tips:

  • Start with ensuring the basic needs of your team are being met.   Employees are fundamentally seeking 3 things out of their work environment; Achievement, Camaraderie, and Equity.  Understand the degree to which people feel these needs are being met and work with the team to create action plans to address any gaps.
  • Sorry, you may have to change your incentive plans.  If you have systems, processes, pay plans, or other organizational mechanisms in place that get in the way of “partnership” behaviors, they have to be changed.  This also includes the types of metrics to which you pay the most attention and even the order in which things are discussed in staff meetings. 
  • Look at the behaviors that you are modeling.  As the leader, you set the tone. Things you pay attention to, notice, and reward will carry a great deal of weight in terms of helping people understand the behaviors that are important in the culture.  Make sure you are always treating people with respect, listening carefully to their ideas, resisting taking over and dominating, and encouraging collaboration. 

There is much more to building a lasting, “partnership” culture than these 3 things but focus in these 3 areas will help you build the right foundation.  Achieving bottom-line results is obviously critical for a business, but without the right culture in place, your success will likely be short lived.  As you work to find transient competitive advantages you need to think about how to set your organization up for frequent change and driving innovation.  A strong partnership culture and leaders, managers, and employees that are in alignment and ready to adapt will ensure you are staying ahead of customer needs and enabling lasting success.


This blog first appeared on Sirota's website on 12/10/2013.

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  • About the Author: Adam Pressman

    Adam Pressman

    Joining Sirota in March 2012, Adam Pressman is working to help expand Sirota's business and global presence. He has over 15 years experience in business development and leadership and organizational e…

    Full Bio | More from Adam Pressman


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