Quick Guide: Business Intelligence (And Why It Matters)

Business analysis

No matter the size of your organization, you’ve probably heard of one of today’s biggest trends in business strategy: data. These days, the topic has climbed to the top of the Google search results, business owners are supplementing spreadsheets with additional analysis, and the wave of the future is beginning to look even more data-driven. 

Data has always been an essential part of doing business, and it’s more important than ever to know how to use your company’s data strategically. In fact, there’s a newfangled term for that: “business intelligence.” You might have heard someone talk about it before—but what does it really mean, and why does it matter?

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) is a bit of a buzzword these days, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Think of it this way: it’s a simple fact that decision-makers in any organization need the most accurate, complete data about the business in order to make sound decisions. The more information available, the better their ability to weigh every option before moving forward.

That’s where business intelligence comes in. Business intelligence is the ability to analyze an organization’s data in order to formulate actionable plans. Note that the definition has two parts. 

First, you need a sound understanding of your company’s data points. This might mean delving into several resources depending on the type of organization and the data available. BI might look at business analytics, statistical analysis, key performance indicators, data mining, data visualization, and more. Once upon a time, business owners needed IT professionals or professional data analysts to help them wade through this information and the programs involved. But in recent years, I’ve seen business owners taking the reins, using more modern analytic software and visualization tools to analyze their own data and make their own decisions.

Second, you need to know how to use your data intelligently to drive growth and to weather market fluctuations and industry changes. Often, this goes hand-in-hand with your ability to create digestible reports of that data and to prepare visualizations that make your results understandable for yourself and others. Once the data is clear, it’s easier to decide the best way to move forward.

Why does business intelligence matter?

Business intelligence matters because it allows you to develop strategies that accelerate your business’s growth. It allows you to translate your data into valuable insights for yourself and your people. For example, BI might help you decide how to formulate sales strategies that increase your revenue, personnel strategies that improve your team’s productivity, or brand strategies that give you a leg up on the competition. That same data-driven BI might also help you spot potential issues before they get out of control, or help you weather the storm when unforeseen problems occur.

Essentially, BI is the foundation of any successful business strategy. If you want to do more than simply stay afloat, BI can help you seize new opportunities, weather industry storms, or create strategies for long-term growth. It’s a great way to empower yourself and your people, taking your organization to the next level with the certainty that only cold, hard data can provide.

3 Things To Keep In Mind When Socializing At Work

Socializing At Work

Humans are social creatures, and that doesn’t change when we step into the office. It’s not unusual for people to enjoy friendly relationships with work colleagues—and in fact, socializing with coworkers can offer a lot of benefits. 

Workplace socializing can lead to great learning opportunities, as colleagues may be able to pass along special knowledge or updates you wouldn’t have known otherwise. Solid, supportive relationships can also make it easier to tackle tough projects when you need to work as a team. And most importantly, enjoying the company of colleagues can make you happier while you’re in the office—which, in turn, can make you more productive.

But you’re not at work to socialize. And there’s a fine line between being friendly and socializing excessively. So how do you find a balance between enjoying your coworkers’ company and getting the job done?

Don’t hesitate to socialize during “downtime”

If you’re not sure how much is too much, play it safe by hanging out with coworkers only when there’s a clear boundary between work time and downtime. Coffee or lunch breaks, office birthday parties, and water cooler talk can be great opportunities to build easy camaraderie with those you work with. Of course, just be sure not to let these activities cut into your productive work time.

You can (and should) also socialize during company-sponsored events like a company picnic or end-of-year party. These events are a great way to relax and laugh with your colleagues in clearly appropriate settings, and to continue building a supportive network for yourself in the office. 

Think twice about what you share (and hear)

Most types of workplace socialization are great, but there are certain social interactions you should never let yourself get involved with. From time to time, everyone needs to blow off steam during a hard day in the office—but if your colleagues’ conversations regularly turn into opportunities to gossip, complain about your workplace, and air dirty laundry, it’s probably not the best idea to join in. While you’re in the office, your behavior shapes others’ perception of you, and those perceptions help shape your future career. 

A great way to avoid this type of situation is to stick with people who are passionate about their job and engaged in what they do at work. Socializing with these types of work friends is more likely to help you learn and grow on the job, and their support can be invaluable as your career develops in the future. In addition, hanging around these people tends to boost your productivity, meaning that it isn’t such an issue if you socialize with them more often than not. 

If you’re still worried about how much or how little to socialize at work, here’s a good rule of thumb: as long as you’re in the office, your downtime and relationships should help to enhance your productivity, or at least not to sabotage it. Stay self-aware, seek out supportive relationships, and socialize—but don’t forget to get the job done.

Stop Wasting Time With This One Tip

Time off

Time is our greatest asset. Maybe that’s why it’s always on our mind and why we feel like we never have enough of it. We go into work every day just to be confronted by a whirlwind of things to do, all of the common issues of our everyday lives. We wish we had the time management skills to take care of it all. 

The problem is that time is a finite resource, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. There are probably a million systems out there designed to help you “get more time”—but that’s impossible. Or they tell you how to become more “efficient”—and then you just end up wasting that extra time on other busywork. 

The only way forward is to become better at deciding how to allocate the time you have. What if you focused not on doing more things faster, but on doing the things that have the highest impact? What if you got rid of the busywork that wastes your time? I’ll tell you: you’d be able to work toward your goals and do the things you love like recharging, exploring your hobbies, and developing important relationships.

But how do you get there?

The 80/20 mindset

This famous principle simply states that 80% of results will come from just 20% of the activities. Consider that for a moment: what if you singled out the actions that are most important for driving your results? What if you focused on being more effective with your most important projects, clients, and tasks—the true heavy hitters—instead of wasting your time elsewhere? As you consider how this might work for you and your team, I encourage you to think about these additional questions:

What is my 20 percent?

In other words, sit down—alone or with your people—and decide which actions get you closer to your goals. Find the high-priority tasks and items associated with those actions.

Which of these items can be delegated to someone else?

Next, decide if some of your remaining, lower-priority tasks can be delegated elsewhere. You might delegate tasks to someone who works for you, either someone better positioned to do the job or with someone with more time or opportunity to help. You might even delegate these tasks to someone outside of your organization if needed.

When you sit down to ask these two questions, you’ll start sorting things into a few different categories. First, you’ll have high-priority items that you need to do personally. These will be your main focus, the things you work on to drive success. Second, you’ll have high-priority items that someone else can do. Passing these tasks along can help free up your time to work on higher-impact activities. Third, you’ll have items that aren’t a priority. There are many of these in everyone’s lives—and it’s time for you to ditch yours. Stop doing the low-impact tasks that don’t bring results and focus your energy and attention on the ones that do.

If you work to apply the 80/20 rule and ask these questions, you’ll find that instead of having more time, you’ll have more impact. You’ll focus on the things that really make a difference, all while getting more time to recharge and live the life that you want to lead.

Leveraging Strengths To Achieve Excellence

If you’re trying to achieve excellence in the workplace, there’s no better way than to focus on your workforce. Your people are the most important part of your business—so how can you engage them, develop their skills, and get them to the next level? Today, let’s talk about strength-based management, and why it’s critical to focus on your leveraging your team’s strengths and passions instead of fixing their flaws.

Stop focusing on weakness

The topic of weakness or flaws appears often in business performance reviews and employee development. We tend to ask, “What are your weaknesses?” or “How can you improve?” But the best way to achieve excellence is actually to stop focusing on fixing flaws. 

Consider Shaquille O’Neal. During his time in the NBA, he had a terrible weakness for shooting foul shots. But would he have seen the same success if he’d focused on fixing those foul shots, instead of honing the skills that made him such a powerful inside force? Probably not. The key here is to master your strengths, working to achieve consistently near-perfect performance. Shaq probably still got some grief over his foul shots, but he chose to prioritize his strengths instead—and that’s what made all the difference.

Develop a strength-focused workplace

Let’s apply this concept to your organization. As a leader, it’s your job to be aware of your people’s strengths. This goes both ways of course: your employees should also be aware of their professional strengths and passions. If they aren’t, spend some developmental energy to help them understand what they bring to the table. Assessments can be very helpful here.

Once you’re aware of these personal strengths, think outside the box to match them with your company’s needs. Instead of sorting people into specific roles or territories, consider moving them around by project or client, according to their strengths. This allows you to decentralize the decision-making process, allowing people to make important decisions in their areas of strength. 

When it comes to developing your team, you should help them grow their identified strengths. Often, we think about what people can’t do, using workplace training to bridge the gap between their failures and company needs. Instead, focus on coaching their strengths. Let’s go back to Shaq for a minute. In his career, he probably got some coaching on his foul shots, but the bulk of it went to footwork, rebounds, and positioning—all the things that brought him, not just success, but also excellence. In the same way, you want to help your team hone their greatest strengths into consistent skills—and raise your organization to new heights. 

Finally, don’t forget to ingrain this strength-focused attitude into your workplace culture. So often, we hear of company cultures that emphasize what workers do wrong. Flip this around for your team, cultivate an environment where everyone focuses on who’s strong in which areas—and works to leverage these strengths. Reward strengths rather than punish weaknesses, and focus your development efforts on honing these strengths. 

Developing your people’s strengths is an intensive process, especially in a company of scale—but the high-impact payoff is well worth the trouble. In the end, you will find that you’re stronger, more motivated team leads to a stronger organization as a whole.

Passing the Hall Test

Executive Presence

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity and responsibility to evaluate executives and rising executives. While most of them had great track records and success, there was also this “it” factor that separated the high-risers from the rest. This “it” factor is executive presence, and this article will touch on a few of the things that will help you shine above the rest. Whether you’re at a career crossroads or you want to improve the level of effectiveness in your current position, one thing is clear – executive presence is key to instilling confidence in your team and opening doors for future success. Executive presence is more than looking professional or holding a senior-level title in an organization – it’s how you portray yourself to others in the room and how others react to your leadership. Executive presence is not  a trait that you are born with, it is a learned skill that requires constant self-awareness and continual self coaching. You must constantly be aware of how you present yourself, whether it be in the boardroom, on the factory floor, or by the water cooler. Your staff should look to you for inspiration in any given situation. Read on to learn how to cultivate your executive presence and find success with confidence.

Are Your Nonverbal Cues Selling You Short?

Let’s start with the nonverbal basics. People are always reading your body language. Your posture and appearance can say volumes. Even if your ideas are world-changing, if you’re not dressed professionally or if you slouch or lean, or (heaven forbid) smell badly, no one will listen. Why? Because the way you look and hold yourself sets the tone of the interaction before you ever utter a word. Similarly, your facial expressions can exude a wide range of emotions, including fear, frustration, or friendliness. Think about the emotion that you want to convey and continually manage your facial expressions accordingly. Don’t forget to display active listening skills; nod as others speak and ask clarifying questions to show you’re actively listening. 

Displaying Confidence, Clarity, and Character

Noted entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly.” It sounds like a tall order for anyone to achieve, but the truth is these traits all boil down to how you present yourself to others. Displaying authenticity, well-mannered etiquette, empathy for your team, restraint when needed, and humility is essential.Technology thought leaders and innovators, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, shared common characteristics despite being competitors in the computer marketplace. Both men knew how to display confidence and clarity of vision to their team. They saw upcoming market trends and inspired those under them to leverage their potential and efforts toward innovation. They laid a clear path for what they were trying to achieve, and then gave their people the resources to do the job. A well-articulated vision is paramount for success. And with vision, confidence will follow.

Cultivating successful communication

Building a successful executive presence goes beyond your persona; it displays your connections with others as well. The most inspiring leaders are first good listeners. They show charisma by “staying in the moment” during discussions with others and asking smart questions. They also value others’ time by concisely presenting ideas, validating them, then leaving the discussion open for more questions. Good leaders also communicate ideas in a concise, simple, and clear manner while avoiding poor habits like insensitivity, sounding uneducated on the matter at hand, and posting inappropriately on social media. By providing forward-looking leadership that concentrates on both the present and future goals, you’ll display an executive presence others will defer to. 

The final take away

By displaying the executive presence in how you dress, hold yourself, and communicate, you’ll instill confidence in your team. By displaying influence while still listening to what others have to contribute you build respect with your peers. By cultivating open communication and shared, actionable steps toward a goal, you’ll lay the path for your organization to find success. While these traits rarely come naturally to us, with ongoing self-awareness you can not only present yourself in the best possible light, you’ll bring the best out in others.

Help! Escaping The Tyranny Of Meetings

Meeting planner

What’s the single biggest drain on productivity the western world has ever known? I’ll give you a hint. Chances are, it’s something you know all too well: meetings. I go into organizations all the time, and more than any other complaint, people tell me that meetings are the bane of their existence. They crush our productivity—and the souls of our employees. Here are some statistics:

  • Since the year 2000, the time spent in meetings has gone up by 10% every year. 
  • Unproductive meetings cost US companies alone 37 billion dollars per year. 
  • An executive survey last year viewed 67% of meetings as failures.
  • Executives average 23 hours per week in meetings. 

Now, I’m not saying meetings are all bad. Done well, they do have a purpose. But most of the time, we don’t actually achieve what we set out to do, and it happens for a number of reasons. The good news is, you can help stop this madness. The next time you plan a meeting, rather than simply scheduling something with whoever you can find on a list, ask these questions:

Is this meeting delivering value? 

Before you begin, calculate the ROI of your meeting by adding up the cost of everyone’s time in that meeting (I have done this many times, and it can be truly eye-opening). Ask yourself, is the output from that meeting going to be worth that cost?

Is this meeting the best solution for what you’re trying to accomplish? 

We tend to use meetings to solve all our problems, but there are other options. Send an email instead, or simply walk down the hall for a quick conversation that might take ten minutes instead of a thirty-minute meeting.

Who should be in this meeting? 

Often, we decide that we want everyone who might have an interest to be in this meeting. But think more critically: every time you bring someone into a meeting, you’re saying “no” to something else they could be doing.

How long should this meeting be? 

Break free of the oppression of your calendar app, and try scaling your meeting down to 10 or 15 minutes. You’ll often find that the issue scales down with it since longer meetings tend to fill with unnecessary fluff.

Can you combine multiple meetings? 

Instead of having two meetings a week, combine them (ideally shortening the time as well) to get rid of inefficiencies.

Is this meeting a priority? 

Think about the context within which you are scheduling the meeting. Should the meeting be a priority within that context? For example, in the last week of the quarter or year, we’re often focused on delivering the promised results. Is this the best time to schedule a meeting to plan the company’s next three years? Consider postponing meetings for the appropriate moment.

One last note: if you go through all of these questions and still feel like you need a meeting, at least create an agenda! Only 37% of all meetings in the US have agendas, which means many of our meetings become a waste of time because there’s nothing to help us focus on the topics at hand. So what do we do about this tyranny of meetings? As a leader, it’s up to you. Make sure you and your team use these questions to get your organization’s meetings under control—for your own sake and for your people.

Behavioral Tools To Acquire And Retain Clients

customer retention

Ask yourself these questions: How much do you spend annually on customer acquisition? How much do you spend on customer retention? Which is more valuable? The answer may surprise you. While acquiring new clients is imperative to any business, customer retention drives long-term profits and actually feeds into new customer acquisition. When you make evangelists of your customer base, some of your most powerful marketing is already done for you—by word of mouth. So if client retention is a significant factor for long-term growth and sustainability in any business organization, what are some behaviors top organization leaders use to maintain customer loyalty?

Setting expectations and building relationships

A satisfied customer and a loyal customer are two very different things. While you may persuade your ideal client to make a one-time purchase, you’ll never see this purchase translate into brand loyalty unless you develop a relationship of trust with the client. Achieving this kind of loyal customer base starts with how you begin your relationship with your customers. Richard Branson said, “The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them—preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” Always delivering what you promise when you promise builds trust, and in turn your customers will trust you to advise them. Being proactive and anticipating your customers’ needs can also go a long way toward retaining them for life. If your clients know every interaction with you is hassle-free and pleasant, they’re more than likely to engage with you when new products and services are introduced.

Utilize your organization’s greatest strengths: your employees

What does your brand do well? What sets you apart from your competition? Your employees should be one of your strengths. A 2013 Gallup poll showed that only 30% of employees are engaged in their work; this no doubt will eventually translate into lackluster customer interactions. While a good compensation plan is a must, intrinsic motivators are what truly drive performance. Building a strong culture, clearly explaining your mission and values, and explaining how to succeed in the organization can help ensure team members achieve results—and helping them connect the dots to their job will take them even further. Acknowledging your team’s successes and allowing them to handle tasks that engage them and spark their curiosity can bring added value to their productivity. Ultimately, showing loyalty to your staff will pay dividends, as they loyally support your business.

Treat your customers like people

Remember the golden rule? It applies to customer retention as well. Your online marketing should strive to relate to your clients on a personal level and thank them for any feedback they provide. Thank you notes, loyalty discounts, and providing an open forum for their thoughts all send a clear message that you value your customers just as much as you value their business. In short, every team member in your organization should also be a client relations manager. Customer retention is the key to brand loyalty and growth; utilizing these steps can ensure your brand thrives for years to come.

Let’s recap

People know a sales pitch when they hear it, and they hear it every day. What truly makes you stand out from your competitors is when you acknowledge your clients’ needs and treat them like people, not revenue statistics. We all seek connection and your customers are no different. By developing relationships tied to realistic expectations, positive employee interactions, and simple courtesy and clear communication, you’ll find that your customers will advance your brand far more effectively than any marketing campaign. 

Three Steps to Take When You’re Miserable at Work

Finding happiness

If you’re feeling stressed, unfulfilled, or generally unhappy every time you head into the office, you aren’t alone. Studies show that roughly half of all Americans feel frustrated or disconnected at work. You’ll occasionally even turn on the news to find a high-profile example, like Andrew Luck’s recent retirement from the NFL. 

Unfortunately, being miserable at work can create a snowball effect with that unhappiness spilling into other areas of your life, too. But what should you do when you’re miserable at work? And when is it time to pack up and leave?

Keep Things in Big-Picture Perspective

One of the hardest things you’ll have to do when you’re in this situation is decide how and when to move forward. If work stress makes you truly unhappy, there may be no point in sticking to your current career path or position. Think of it this way: work is only one part of your life, but it tends to have an outsized impact on your overall happiness. If you regularly dread going into work, or if you find that your job is having a toxic effect on the rest of your life, you can’t let it continue. Even the “best job” in the world shouldn’t keep you from finding happiness in the rest of your life!

Catch Negative Patterns Early

Before you start heading toward the point of no return, you’ll probably start to see red flags in your workplace, things that should throw you on alert. I’m not talking about small things, like your boss looking at you funny one day, I’m talking about things that truly ruin your overall happiness. For example, if office bullying destroys your mood, if you’re tired of the acidic gossip that spreads through your team, or if you feel like your voice is being ignored, it’s important to take note. As soon as this behavior becomes a pattern and not a one-off problem, it’s time to speak up. Hopefully, you have a strong enough relationship with your supervisor that you can mention these pitfalls as they happen. If not (or if your supervisor is the issue), speak to Human Resources or whoever in your office may have the power to help before things continue down this path. You will be doing yourself and the organization a great favor.

Always Have a Backup Plan

This is true whether you’re in a bad situation or not. Sure, Andrew Luck can easily fall back on his millions now that he’s retired—but you probably couldn’t do the same if something were to happen tomorrow. It’s always important to be prepared. This will look differently depending on your situation, but you might want to consider having a little extra savings, an updated resume, or even a job hunt or side hustle already in progress. After all, if you had to leave your company or were fired today, you’d want a contingency plan in place to keep your career goals on track!

At the end of the day, your career is just one part of your life—so be careful not to let it weigh down the rest. You can find a lot of happiness by managing your career in a way that gives you that fits you and by keeping your personal growth and fulfillment as a priority.

Difference Between Boss And Leader

Difference between boss and leader

Consider this question: are you a boss or a leader?
You might not know the answer right away, especially because we sometimes use both terms interchangeably in the office. But there is a difference, and the implications of this difference are very important. Recent studies suggest that leaders are three and a half times more effective than bosses in the workplace. 

Understanding the difference between bosses and leaders—and adopting the traits of a leader—can help you boost your team’s performance and contribute to the success of your organization. So let’s take a look at what sets leaders apart from bosses.

Where do they get their power?

Bosses get their power from the organization itself. They have a title, they’ve been given permission to run things, and they’ve been designated a span of control. Their workers are required to follow them because they’ve been placed in a position of power. 

Leaders, on the other hand, have earned the right to lead. They get their power directly from the people they’re leading. These people respond to their leadership qualities and naturally decide to follow.

What are their management styles?

A boss’s style is very different from that of a leader. Bosses will manage from an administrative perspective, meaning that their focus is on things like processes, meetings, reports, and deadlines. They want to be seen as a dominant force, so their main concern is typically rule-following. And when you come up with a new idea, a boss is often the one standing over you with a water hose to wash it away: “We can’t do that! We have processes for a reason—are you crazy?” 

In this same situation, a leader is someone who accepts your idea and lets you run with it. A leader’s main goal is empowerment and growth, and they operate by spreading responsibility and authority throughout the organization. This encourages forward-thinking and innovation, instead of the stagnation you’ll often see under a boss.

Where’s their compass?

Bosses are all about standards and expectations. They’re always ready to let you know what they expect of you, to explain the standards of your job performance, or to cite the rules and guidelines.

On the other hand, leaders operate on the basis of values, and these typically align with the values of the company. They look at the broader perspective based on these values, asking big-picture questions like “Is what we’re doing meeting our values?” or “Are we being who we’re supposed to be?”

Where are they?

If you look to the sidelines, you’ll probably see your boss there. Bosses direct from afar, watching the action with a pair of binoculars like a general up on a hill—conveniently outside of firing range. 

As for the leader, they’ve rolled up their sleeves to get down in the dirt with the rest of their people. Leaders stay directly on the front lines to address issues, fix problems, and act as examples for their team. 

What’s their goal?

This question gets at the heart of how and why people become bosses in the first place. Bosses focus on outcomes and results—which sounds great, in theory. We want outcome-focused people on the team, and bosses move up the ladder by getting those desired results. 

But leaders approach this differently. They know results are important, but their primary focus is on potential and transformation. Again, they’re asking big-picture questions like “How can I take my people and make them better?” and “How can I help them on their career journey?” (Oh, and by the way—when leaders think this way, they tend to get the same excellent results anyway.) 

Now that we’ve painted a clear picture of bosses and leaders, it should be a little easier to tell which one you are—and which one you want to be.

Here’s How to Reinvent Your Organization’s Culture

Company culture

One of the biggest difference-makers at any level of an organization is culture. The companies I meet with are always looking for that high-performing culture—and for good reason.

We often think of culture as only “company culture,” but the reality is that it extends to every level of an organization. Not only is there a company culture, but there are also different cultures within smaller groups including a department culture, office culture, and team culture. Impacting any of these cultures can make a huge difference in terms of your organization’s performance.

But changing your culture isn’t easy. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult tasks your organization can undertake—but the rewards you’ll reap are invaluable. Here’s how to do it.

Identify your current culture.

Whether you like it or not, your organization has a culture. Could you describe your organization’s current culture? Most of the time, organizations feel they know what that culture is but they’re wrong. The view of the culture from up top isn’t the same as the view from inside the trenches. You’ll need to really dig deep to understand your organization’s culture. Send out surveys, talk to your people, and get to know the truth of your existing culture.

Understand your desired culture.

Just as with anything else, it’s crucial to know where you’re headed. Identify the kind of culture you want by thinking about what it would look like. When you sit down with a friend a few years from now to talk about the culture changes you made, what kinds of examples would you share? What kinds of stories and images would come out of that desired culture? If you don’t have this knowledge, you’ll only be talking in theoretical terms, without a real picture to guide you. 

Change your culture.

When the time comes for closing the gap between your current culture and your desired one, you’ll have to hone your new culture in three steps:

  1. Your leaders’ actions. Change has to start from the top down. Your leaders’ actions will drive your people’s beliefs, and those beliefs will drive the behaviors you want. Sit down and closely consider your team’s current behaviors: what do you want to start doing, what do you want to stop doing, and what do you want to continue doing?
  2. Company messaging. Once you’ve made decisions about your actions, it’s time to consider your messaging. The right messages can tell people what to look for and focus on making them more likely to see the changes you hope to inspire.
  3. Systemize your new culture. To really make this change stick, you need to develop a framework. Document what your leaders should look like, the behaviors and skills they should have, and the values they need to hold. Take a hard look at your performance-management system: if you fire people who embody your culture or reward people who don’t, you’re sending mixed messages. And don’t forget to make sure that everyone you bring into your organization fits your culture, and onboard them in a way that acclimates them quickly to your culture.

Changing your organization’s culture can be one of the most important things you do to bring your performance to the next level. If you’ve decided where you want your company to be, it’s time to take charge of your actions, messaging, and framework to make the change—and make it stick.