Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist. Always chatty and eager to share his wisdom, Carnegie once said, “You must capture and keep the heart of the supremely able man before his brain can do its best.”
It’s a savvy assessment of the vital connection between heart, mind, results, and retention. How do we capture and keep the hearts of those we lead so they perform at their fullest potential year after year? A good place to start is curating an exceptional organizational culture. Culture is horizontal gravity. It’s what draws individuals into an organization, and it’s what keeps them there. Culture is a mindset, rooted in philosophy. Now, how do you put this mission into action?
Create a Culture Code
As important as culture is, if you ask ten employees to define their organization’s culture, you’ll likely get ten different answers. Culture should be easily understood and articulated. Mindfully create a “Culture Code” then, bring it to life. Create laminated copies for everyone or turn it into a piece of office wall art. Put it to work for you. Use it as a cornerstone of your talent acquisition efforts. Make it a tangible, visible part of your organizational ecosystem.
Once the culture is defined, two shifts need to happen to align the company. The first shift happens when leadership realizes it “isn’t about them.” The second shift is even more important and depends on the success of the first. This shift happens within the organization itself. This shift happens when everyone in the organization believes that leadership believes that it’s not about them. Why? Because in the end, it’s what they believe that matters. What they believe determines how they behave and perform.
Make the Investment
Making it about them requires a consistent, focused investment of time and attention. Start with understanding purpose. Purpose inspires and drives people. What’s important to them personally? Professionally? Financially? Paint pictures of how exceptional performance will lead to outcomes serving those very priorities. Within reason, the things that are important to them should become important to you.
Quit Managing. Start Leading.
Most people would much rather be led than managed. What’s the difference? Visualize standing over someone versus walking beside them. Don’t just tell them you’re in it with them – show them. Ask people, “What can I do for you today?” Ask it daily. And when they need something, do it. This doesn’t mean you’re going to do their work, nor does it mean they aren’t accountable for their results. Rather, it demonstrates to them that you have made that shift to making things about them.
Keep Things Simple
The world is a complicated, noisy place. Inputs assail us all day long, competing for our attention and challenging our ability to focus. Culture creates clarity. Leaders who curate culture are consistently on-message. They remind everyone of fundamental truths about the culture and the business to keep people grounded during challenging times.
Be the Cultural Immune System
Curating exceptional culture also means protecting it. Leaders must serve as the immune systems of their organization. That means identifying entities threatening the organization and its culture, then eliminating them.
Few organizations have an exceptional culture. That’s because it’s hard to do. But if you want to capture and keep the heart of the best talent in the hospitality industry, it’s worth every effort. It is up to the leaders to curate culture, but the recruiters at Horizon Hospitality can help. Contact us today to learn how we can find not just the best hospitality professionals, but the right people whose priorities align with your company’s.