When the CEO of one of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains announced that the company would stop selling tobacco products in its 7,700 drug stores, he made headline news and set a powerful example for others to follow. CVS Caremark (recently renamed CVS Health) CEO Larry Merlo put a firm stake in the ground by voluntarily forgoing a source of $2 billion a year in revenue.
So, you might be wondering, what was he thinking?
During a recent keynote, Jeb Dasteel, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Oracle Corporation, said something that gave me pause. “Don’t try to change the culture,” Dasteel urged the hundreds of change agents gathered in a hotel conference room. “Exploit it.”
Dasteel went on to explain that, while building a customer experience strategy inside Oracle — a company that had historically valued its intellectual property more than its customers, he chose to leverage the prevailing engineering mindset instead of trying to change the organizational culture, as so many of us might be tempted to do. “I couldn’t change the culture if I wanted to,” he said.
One of the most important tasks in creating a high-performance culture is taking care of employees’ needs. When employees’ needs are met, and employees feel aligned with the mission, vision and values of the organization, they respond with high levels of engagement and commitment: They come to work with enthusiasm and are willing to go the extra mile to support the organization in its endeavours.
Thus it is important to address the question: What do organizations need to do to create a highly motivated workforce where employees are willing to devote a significant amount of their discretionary energy, as well as their commitment and creativity, to making the organization a success?
I was reading some amazing statistics from a Right Management report on talent management that covered global trends, challenges, and priorities. Much has been written about the reduced investment in talent during challenging financial times and the recent re-emergence of interest in effective talent management practices. Unfortunately the culture that currently exists in many organizations will be the single greatest impediment to sustainable talent strategies.
I wrote about the four reasons culture-shaping efforts fail in my previous post (Organizational culture has reached a tipping point, yet many culture change initiatives fail for four key reasons). But what makes them succeed? What makes some culture-change efforts successful where others become simply another ‘flavor of the week’ training session that never translates into real change? This is a subject of great debate and many theories exist.
As we looked for the common denominator of success in the hundreds of culture-shaping efforts we have led at Senn Delaney, the level of CEO ownership and personal engagement won hands down as a key success factor.