Most leaders would like to see their culture go from one in which employees ask “What’s best for me?” to “What’s best for the company?”  Of course, first and foremost, employees need to feel that “What’s best for the company” is also “What’s best for me.”  If overall the answers to these two are not in alignment, there’s trouble in paradise.

So how do you have the answers to these two questions oftentimes be the same?  How do you get a group of individuals to move from being self-motivated to thoughtful about the needs of the whole?

Here’s one way to go about it…

I met with a company last week and I asked the question I often do, “Tell me about your culture.”

And with no hesitation, the response I received was the following:  “Our culture is purpose driven and values supported.”

Bam!!  He nailed it.  In the past 20 months this company has overhauled their culture and they now actively live it and breathe it.  When I asked him what their culture looked like in daily interactions he again didn’t hesitate.  Story upon story of how their culture is purpose driven and values supported flowed.  And they were recent stories.

He also knew the challenges to their culture.  He talked about how some employees who came from the old culture would try to manipulate the values for personal gain, essentially spin it for self motivation.  He said he managed these instances by always bringing it back to the purpose to create common understanding and common sense.

The purpose of their company is group focused, group supported and beneficial for everyone – employees, customers, community and shareholders.  With this as the stronghold, the only way to move forward as an individual in this company is to be a part of the purpose, to look out for what’s best for the group.

If this is an issue you seriously would like to resolve in your company, consider reading Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King and Halle Fischer-Wright.  This is an excellent resource for providing step by step ways to move your culture from “me” focused to “we” focused.