Here are some reinforcement ideas our Culture Strategists are using successfully within their areas. Look at these ideas and see how you may be able to use them with your team.
- Spend a 20-30 minute segment in a staff meeting reviewing a key concept or two, using refresher slides and activities. For example, review Behavioral Styles as it relates to team effectiveness. Complete the exercise where you list the "Dos and Don’ts” of working with different styles around the question: “How can I better communicate/work with you?” Post the Dos and Don’ts list in your work area along with other culture posters.
- Work with your leader to incorporate the values and or retreat principles into speeches and other executive communications. Bill MacDonald, dean of the Newark campus, shared these remarks at the 2010 Fall Welcome Luncheon this year. His remarks were well received by faculty and staff, in part because of his personal, genuine approach.
- Walk your team through an exercise that links the values with which tools and mindsets covered in the culture retreat that support each value. Here is an example of an exercise the Newark Campus engaged in at their Fall 2010 planning meeting.
- Host a game show at regular staff meetings – Know Your Values! Have contestants interpret what the value means to them in their workplace. For more information, contact Jill Porterfield-Baxa.
- During on-boarding or orientation, share culture information, as well as expectations around how your team demonstrates the values. Also, talk about specific ways your team uses the concepts from the unfreezing retreat to increase effectiveness. At the Medical Center, new leader on-boarding contains an overview of our values, and information around the expectations that leaders are drivers of change and need to model the values.
- Frame retreat posters and hang them in conference rooms or other meeting spaces. Have a group develop activities around the posters, ensuring the activities are relevant and appeal to the team. Have managers complete one activity with their teams each month. Rotate the posters monthly between spaces.
- During meetings, ask each person to name one thing he/she is doing to personally advance the values and shift the culture. This is especially effective to use in leadership meetings to remind leaders that they are drivers of change.
- During a team meeting, choose a value and ask the following questions: What do you expect of yourself in living this value? What do you expect from others? How will we know if we have strengthened the way we live this value? What signs will tell us we have not strengthened in living this value? How often should we talk about this? Create team “I will” statements; these can serve as reminders, or as part of the values section of performance objectives.
- Create a monthly e-mail message that reinforces a value, or concept covered in the unfreezing retreat, to keep the value alive. Personalize the message with recognition for people who demonstrate the value, an example of what the value looks like in your college/unit, or tips on how to apply the value.
- Using an electronic bulletin board to show slides of the values each month. Run them for an entire year in an effort to subtly infuse the values into employees’ and students’ thinking.
- Develop a 12 month plan that focuses on using a different culture tool each month. Incorporate recognition, fun, and leadership components into your activities to appeal to a broad audience. See how the Culture Team in the Office of Human Resources used a variety of activities to reinforce accountability.
- Use clicker technology at a large department meeting to count the answers to questions such as, “Where are you on the mood elevator” or “Have you asked for feedback during the last 30 days”? This allows you to take a pulse of who is thinking about different values and concepts, and reminds people about the values and concepts.
- In the Office of the CIO, the behavior styles of each senior leader are on an intranet. A tip sheet for communicating with each style are found alongside this information. Staff are encouraged to identify the behavior style of the person they are working with and consider the tips when in conversation or working together on projects.
- When you convene a meeting or host an event, don’t assume everyone knows each other. Have the group introduce themselves at the beginning of the meeting or event. This builds teamwork in the room for the current event, and going forward. A surgeon at the Medical Center uses this approach before every surgery. As one person said, “I’ve worked with some of these people for years and never knew their names.”
- Shift the thinking that an unfreezing retreat is an event, to a point at which you can realize change. Before you attend a retreat with your team, think about what specific results you expect to see from the retreats. For Culture Strategists, as you work with leaders to develop a plan for moving the college/unit through retreats, ask them what specific results they expect to see from the retreats.
- Following an unfreezing retreat, have the retreat leader send a message thanking colleagues for their participation. In that message, ask each retreat participant to send back one-two sentences about what they gained from the retreat. Share the compiled list of responses with the whole unit/college.
- Hold a world café to reinforce the retreat concepts, and talk about how these concepts drive results. Here is an example of how the Office of the CIO held the café-style meeting.
- Use this Results Cone tool with individuals and/or groups to help when working toward an outcome, particularly an outcome that requires new thinking, to identify the thinking and behaviors that will lead to the desired results.
- Host a conversation about simplicity and/or streamlining. Ask each person to think of a time when they streamlined something, made something more efficient, or simply de-cluttered an area in their life. After 2-3 minutes, ask participants to share the experience with one other person, including how they felt afterward. After of 5 minutes of small group sharing, aks the full group to share. End with your experience - when you did this, the resulting feeling, and the outcome/benefit. You can also do this exercise by asking participants to focus on the tools they used, rather than how they felt. At the end, make the case for “We all have the abilities to do this… it’s finding the motivation to do it and just doing it!”
- Ask each person to think of a drawer, room, shelf, cupboard, etc., at home that needs decluttering. Ask them to picture the end result, and work backward on the results cone" What is the benefit of the end result? What behaviors are needed to clean out/declutter that drawer, room, etc? What thinking with motivate you to take action? Put these thoughts into words on a results cone: "This is what I need to believe… "This is what I need to do in order to get these results." Ask each person to make a commitment to a partner about what they will do. Do the same activity above with a work drawer, room, shelf, process, stack of papers, or filing cabinet.
- Approach a “hot-button” topic that will require significant change from appreciation, and with a positive attitude. During curriculum redesign, The College of Social Work had faculty and staff position feedback as “What I appreciate about this syllabus is… it could be even stronger if…”
- Have all staff complete a brief profile/questionnaire identifying their favorite soft drink, candy bar, TV shows, movies, magazines, etc… - and Behavioral Style. Post these in a common area such as a shared drive so all staff can access them. When someone wants to express appreciation for another, it's easy to know what that person will like. Continually encourage recognition/appreciation, and promote resources such as this.
- In your conference rooms, place table tents that list reminders about how to have a productive meeting. Use paper, or inexpensive acrylic frames. This can be done anonymously to create conversation. Use the Healthy Meeting Concepts document as a guide.
- Use the Healthy Meeting Tool to gauge the effectiveness of your meetings. Be sure to respond to the feedback offered.
- Start every meeting high on the mood elevator by offering appreciation and “good news.”
- Hang a mood elevator poster outside of a meeting room. Invite meeting participants to identify their mood as they enter the room. You can even consider using adhesive dots to identify moods on the poster.
- Ask meeting participants to refrain from using electronic devices. If necessary, provide 1-2 minute breaks during the meeting to allow for checking urgent messages.
Coaching and Feedback
- Develop a group mentoring to strengthen supervisors’ and managers’ coaching and feedback skills. Assign 3-4 mentees to a mentor, and have the group meet twice a month to talk about how to give coaching and feedback, challenges associated with it, and successes when doing it. The Office of the CIO has designed and implemented a successful program. Contact David Taylor (Taylor.firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
- Encourage your leader to ask for honest feedback on the spot from direct reports and team members. Or, have one person talk to all of a leader’s direct reports to share feedback; this can be anonymous. Collect themes, and have the leader compare those themes to the shadow s/he wants to cast. Have your leader share the shadow s/he wants to cast, and the areas s/he is working on to shift the actual shadow to the desired shadow; and ask the team to share feedback about progress.
- See the clever ideas implemented by the Culture Team in the Office of Human Resources to reinforce accountability, including leader messaging, recognition cards, and an accountability ladder golf tournament.