S. Chris Edmonds is a sought-after speaker, author, and executive consultant. He’s the founder and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group. After a 15-year executive career leading high performing teams, Chris began his consulting company in 1990. He has worked as a senior consultant with The Ken Blanchard Companies since 1995. Chris is one of Inc. Magazine’s 100 Great Leadership Speakers and was a featured presenter at SXSW 2015. Chris is the author of the Amazon best seller The Culture Engine, the best seller Leading At A Higher Level with Ken Blanchard, and five other books. In his free time, he’s a working musician with the Jones & Raine band in Denver, CO.
Why does the world need a work revolution?
Most workplaces are dull and frustrating, not engaging, inspiring, and productive. The data is consistent and sobering!
Tiny HR’s 2014 Engagement and Culture Report found that only 49 percent of employees are satisfied with their direct boss. Only 21 percent of employees feel strongly valued in the workplace.
SHRM’s 2015 Engagement Study found that 72 percent of respondents said the most important factor in employee job satisfaction is respectful treatment of all employees at all levels. Only 33 percent reported experiencing that respectful treatment in the workplace.
The second most important factor is trust between employees and senior managers, rated “very important” by 64 percent of respondents. Only 28 percent of employees experience that trust.
These and other studies reveal that workplaces across the globe are lousy places to inhabit for us humans. The research exposes workplace norms that disengage, discount, and dismiss the contributions of the organization’s members.
The good news? Those norms can be changed. Leaders can create a workplace culture that treats every player with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction. When leaders are as intentional about the quality of their work environment as they are about results, really beneficial things happen. My proven framework helps leaders boost engagement (by 40 percent or more), customer service (by 40 percent or more), and results and profits (by 35 percent or more), all within 18 months of engaging in proactive culture refinement.
There is simply no reason to allow lousy work environments to continue any more.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
Most leaders spend more time managing results than they do their workplace culture – yet culture drives everything that happens in their organizations, good or bad.
I help senior leaders create productive, safe, even inspiring work environments with an ‘organizational constitution.’ An organizational constitution is a formal statement of the team, department, region, or company’s purpose (their present day “reason for being”), values and behaviors, strategies, and goals. Most organizations have defined strategies and goals. Accountability for those is probably inconsistent, but it is likely there are some formal agreements already in place for these.
Too few organizations have a purpose statement beyond “making money” or “selling widgets.” A purpose that states what your team does, for whom, and “to what end” – beyond making money – creates meaning and significance for team members.
A few organizations have crafted desired values – but they don’t measure them. They get posted around the organization but they are not acted upon daily. By defining values in observable, tangible, measurable terms, “great citizenship” is clearly defined – and can be measured just like performance results are measured.
Once leaders craft and publish their organizational constitution, the hard work begins. Leaders must model the values and behaviors, coach the values and behaviors, praise aligned behavior, and redirect mis-aligned behavior – every day. It’s all about clarity of expectations – for both performance and values – and consistent accountability for both, in every interaction.
This approach works beautifully for small businesses, non-profits, government agencies, multi-national corporations, etc. We’ve seen amazing gains in engagement, service, and results from small teams, large sales organizations, small manufacturing plants, global conglomerates, and everything in between. My book, The Culture Engine, explains this proven framework and helps leaders craft their organizational constitution as well as align all plans, decisions, and actions to it.
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
Leaders, don’t just focus on performance. Focus equal time, energy, and attention on the quality of workplace interactions by defining desired values in behavioral terms. Then model, coach, and align all behavior to those. Performance will go up. Engagement will go up. Customer service will go up. And your workplace will be a lot more fun and engaging.
Provide a quote (either yours or someone else’s) that you live by and/or that represents why you do what you do.
“Don’t leave the quality of your workplace culture to chance. Be intentional about both performance and values.” – S. Chris Edmonds
What is “required reading” or “required viewing” for people who want to understand what makes you tick personally/professionally/creatively?
- The Culture Engine – my latest book (and Amazon best seller) from Wiley or on Amazon
- My keynote speaker video
- What I Do and Why (blog/podcast)
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you, and how does it impact your work?
I’m a working musician. I play guitar, bass, banjo, and mandolin and sing in the Jones and Raine band. I’ve been playing guitar & singing for audiences for over 50 years. I’m an ASCAP-published songwriter.
Most bands are entirely dysfunctional. This band is immensely talented AND values-aligned. Yes, I crafted an organizational constitution that helps our team function effectively, enjoy & trust each other, and deliver amazing performances for our audiences.
If this band was less than values-aligned, I’d quit in a heartbeat. I’m too old to put up with egos and drama. This team is amazing and inspiring to be around. I love making music with trusted friends. The power of music and harmony can change lives. We love surprising people with our performances. It recharges my batteries, even after 12-hour days for $125 per person!
How do you stay productive throughout your day?
One of my values is to keep my commitments, to ensure I deliver on my promises. I’ve worked out of my home for over 25 years; it’s a blessing and a curse. I’m 20 feet from over a dozen gorgeous looking and sounding stringed instruments in my music studio. We live in the Rocky Mountains with a pond in our back yard. Family and friends are close by. There are distractions everywhere – but I need to deliver on my commitments to customers and clients despite those distractions.
I depend on Apple Calendar, Nozbe’s task manager, and Evernote to keep my commitments straight. These tools work for me!
Where in the world are you?
Denver, CO, USA
How can people connect with you?