Recently, I read Creating Magic, which is essentially about how Disney leads their people to function as an extension of their brand. Disney is an innovator in this area. They have created a culture where each of their cast members own a stake in the ideas, values, and company. Disney cast members are more likely to act in a way that is consistent with the company's overall vision and objective as a result.
How they created ownership
1. Brand with value
Clearly communicating that people matter (*employees are people) dramatically increases what employees are willing to do for a company. Employees that are valued are more likely to invest themselves into a brand message. Companies that treat people with disrespect end up with weak brands. Strong brands start with employees that are valued and respected.
2. Keep what matters in focus
The customer is often forgotten in minor policy adjustments even though many of these adjustments often affect the customer. I have seen small companies choose organizational convenience over customer service and do great harm as a result. Customer service is hard especially when workers get far removed from customer interaction. Listening to the customer and what front-line employees are communicating about customer needs gives a brand relevance.
3. Everything that is done matters
How many times have we really considered how important a Janitor is to our daily lives? How often do we think of the bus boy as a person that can make or break our day or business? Too often in our world the jobs that are low in pay are low in prestige. The sales force gets training while the shipping departments are trained only as much are necessary. Companies with a strong brand culture communicate value to every single position in addition to every person.
The best way to communicate value to employees is to train and develop them as people. If a brand sets out to communicate excellence and value, then the brand must be willing to equip staff to fulfill this role. Too many businesses fear that they loose top talent because with adequate training, the employees might out grow their jobs. However, if training is done correctly, that type of shrinkage could actually be good news. Loosing top talent (managers etc.) actually opens up spaces for movement. A company with opportunity will actually result in creating a culture where you don’t loose top talent, you get more.
Much of this post is in response to Seth Godin's blog. Click the head below to check it out.