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Commit to a High-Performing Culture

We all recognize that our success lies in the strength and growth of our workforce.

Carol Duncan

We all recognize that our success lies in the strength and growth of our workforce. Retention is always a consistent focus, driven by the belief that a cohesive team becomes its recruiting force. The goal is clear: to become the employer of choice in the industry. Leveraging surveys as roadmaps for initiatives has proven invaluable.

While celebrating our ranking in Oregon's Top 100 Businesses survey this year, my attention naturally gravitates toward areas where we can improve. The feedback received from the recent survey is a valuable resource, highlighting critical areas for improvement.

Communication consistently tops the list of improvement areas, and rightly so. How leadership communicates the purpose and why it matters to team members is paramount. Understanding that messages may need to be conveyed multiple times, especially in today's dynamic work environment, emphasizes the need for effective communication strategies. It is intriguing that the frequency with which a message must be heard may vary across generations. Bridging this gap becomes crucial, particularly as baby boomers navigate the best ways to communicate with the current workforce, recognizing that they may interpret messages differently.

Another persistent concern echoing through the feedback from our employees is the perceived reluctance of leadership to address underperformers swiftly. It is a challenge worth acknowledging, as a high-performing team inherently craves high performers. Achieving alignment on this front is essential for our collective success.

Decisive action on this matter can prove essential for maintaining a harmonious and productive workplace despite the potential discomfort. The paradox often arises when these individuals get the best results. The fear of losing a significant contributor may seem counterproductive, yet my repeated experience demonstrates the opposite. When a professional relationship is not yielding the desired results, the decision to part ways is an investment in the long-term health of the team and the organization.

As leaders, we need to recognize that our teams are observant. They notice when actions do not align with organizational values and expectations. The call for decisiveness is not just about efficiency but about demonstrating integrity and commitment to a culture that fosters success.

So, when the signs are clear that a dynamic isn't working, the call to action is simple: make the decision. Your team is watching, and your commitment to a high-performing culture will not go unnoticed. 

Carol Duncan, SMACNA President