Inspire a Culture Within Your Organization

Defining a culture at an organization starts with knowing what the expectations are and then leading by example: a conversation with Sara Whitman

“People have to know what the expectations are and they have to know how what matters to them aligns with what matters to the organization. When they can start to make those connections they’ll also start to say oh okay. This place is really all about curiosity and continuous learning and innovation and really trying new things and not worrying about what happens with it. And personally I really want to be better every day at what I do. How can I do that today? And you do it on your own. And then the person sitting next to you sees what you’re doing and says oh yeah. That’s really cool. I want to try that too. Maybe I could do this.”

Sara says…

It’s all about the people

[as the Chief People Officer] I don’t think you could have a successful client experience without that focus on people on the backend. Because for people to give the best quality work to an organization, they have to have their basics covered– that’s where I come in.  They don’t have to worry about all of the other things that could get in the way of doing a great job. If I could cover all of that and free up that mind space for somebody to give great work, then that’s what you get.

Build trust amongst the team

If you can have honestly and openness, then you don’t have to be afraid to make mistakes. And you can take a chance with a new idea or something that you maybe would’ve been too afraid or worried about saying before. And that just builds, and builds, and builds, so you end up with something really beautiful. You need that space and that comfort to be able to allow all of that to come out.

Be bold and empower employees to take a leap of faith

In the model that we’re creating at HPL there’s a lot of emphasis on putting as much as we can into our employees’ hands. Eliminating walls, barriers, anything that could hinder performance or try new things or progressing. With that autonomy comes the collaboration because once you have it in your control, you’re able to make better decisions about who you need to work with to get your job done better. And when the walls aren’t there and it’s in your control, it’s a lot easier to say hey, can you help me with this? Or, I have this idea, it’s not fully baked, can you help me flesh it out? I have seen instances where people would have an idea and not want to share it until it was totally perfect. Such a shame that is because it’s never totally perfect and a lot of probably really wonderful ideas get thrown to the side. If you own your work, if you can maneuver the way you need to and you feel comfortable in your environment, you can do great work and get it done better with the people alongside you.