Using Servant Leadership to Create an Incredible Culture

Recently we sat down with a large company that wanted a sales strategy.

However, as we started to dig deeper into how they were currently operating, we realised they had a culture problem.

It wouldn’t matter what sales strategy we came up with. They had to fix their culture first – including how they act, speak and treat clients.

Famed management consultant Peter Drucker allegedly said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

I’d add, “but culture with strategy is breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Whether it’s in business, on the sports field, or in life, no strategy will be effective without a healthy culture.

So, really, culture is a part of strategy – a critical component that you can’t do without.

And, it can’t be something you just talk about. It has to be deeper than words and rhetoric.

Culture has to be the very core of your company – what everything is anchored on.

Now, if culture is so vital to your company’s success, how do you create an incredible one? 

There are many ways to create cultures that work. However, the most effective way I’ve experienced starts with servant leadership.

Most well known for his book The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard sets out four principles for using servant leadership to create an incredible culture: vision, values, goals, and people. 

Set a Clear Vision

The first step is to set a clear vision that everyone in your company can get behind and want to be a part of.

At Attain, our vision is Great People. Remarkable Business.

From me to every member of our team, we’re deeply committed to this vision – both individually and collectively.

It is one that inspires and shapes our success. By growing Great People, we’re living our vision as a Remarkable Business and can take our clients on their own Great and Remarkable journey.

Your vision sets the overall scene and direction for your culture to grow from. Its purpose.

To reuse the building a house analogy, your vision is what you want your dream house to look like.

Embrace Your Values

You’re creating a culture to help achieve your vision and bring it to life. What values do you want the culture to be built on?

Without values, your culture doesn’t have a firm foundation from which to grow.

People, integrity and heart are the three values that underpin Attain’s culture.

And, it’s no surprise that they are all key characteristics of servant leaders.

Like your vision, you can’t just put your values up on a wall in your office and get on with business.

They have to be part of everything you do, which is why we (literally) wear our hearts on sleeves.

As a servant leader, I have to embody these values and lead by example – I can’t just tell people what to do, I have to do what I say as well.

Changing a company’s culture doesn’t happen overnight, but if you live and serve your team through your company’s values, it will happen.

You also need to talk about your values, bring them up in every meeting, and instil them in every interaction your team has with each other and with your customers.

Incredible cultures need strong values, just like houses need strong foundations.

Work Towards Internal Goals

While your vision is your company’s overarching purpose, internal goals are essential to help you get there.

Your role as a servant leader is to support your team members in achieving their individual and collective goals because if they win, you win.

These goals tie back to your vision and your values. All of our internal goals are set to help our people be great – helping them grow and achieve their potential.

In particular, I support our sales team and serve them to help them achieve their targets.

Instead of setting their targets, and then leaving them to it, I work with them. Providing my knowledge, time and experience so they can learn and be even better.

When you’re building a house, your internal goals are the milestones you have to hit to make your dream home a reality.  

Focus on Your People

One of the characteristics of servant leadership is a commitment to the growth of people – both personally and professionally.

This is why people feature in our vision and our values.

Invest in your people, help them grow, succeed and be the best they can be.

Because, as I can tell you, the results will be remarkable.

While you need a vision, values and goals, without people, you can’t have a culture – just like you need people to build your dream home.

And, without focusing on your people and making them the heart of your company, you can’t create an incredible culture.

Conclusion

Look back at these four principles, it is pretty obvious how servant leadership and creating an incredible culture is intertwined. 

If you live a life of servant leadership, you’ll establish amazing cultures wherever you go.

It starts with a clear vision, embracing a core set of values, striving for internal goals and, most importantly, focusing on people.

Attain is living proof that it is as simple and powerful as that.

So, if you want to transform your business culture, I’d recommend you start by transforming your leadership style to servant leadership and going from there.

It won’t necessarily be easy, but the impact you have on your people will be worth it.


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Sharn Piper – CEO
M: +64 27 733 4333
E: sharn@attainnz.com

Having successfully led numerous sales teams, built multiple successful businesses I know what it takes to create a sales process that is robust, repeatable and produces consistent results when applied in a consistent way.

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