How’s your People and Culture Strategy working for you??

Dr Sean R People and Culture Strategy Model



Too bad… it would make things easier….

We are humans, subject to errors, failures and all sorts of unpredictabilities.

So WHY do so many businesses fail to invest adequately in their people? Fail to get them to peak performance every day??

I have worked with leaders in business across a number of organizations, small to large. One thing that often strikes me, particularly for small to medium size businesses, and especially startups, is the contrast between the significant effort, organization, and diligence put into the business plan and the lack of the same put into the “people and culture plan” (often close to no time, energy or resources).

The thing is, the cost of human capital (compensation, other direct expenses, and a whole host of indirect costs) is the biggest expenditure in most businesses, as well as being one of the biggest risk factors (human performance varies to extremes from day to day – and a few wrong decisions can destroy a sale, a quarter or an entire business!).

Leaving your people and culture plan to chance…

  • no formal strategy to integrate values into everyday behaviors, communications and performance measurement
  • no strategy to anticipate and prepare for org chart expansion and re-structures as you evolve through planned and unanticipated growth
  • no strategy to keep your people engaged & motivated on a daily basis (more than just the annual pat on the back)
  • no strategy to systematize performance accountability
  • no strategy that seamlessly connects all points of the journey of an employee from recruitment, hiring, through induction, development, promotion and retirement
  • no strategy to ensure effective leadership succession for the long term

means you are taking HUGE risks… and, as a performance psychologist, I can tell you that your people will be most vulnerable at the most critical, high pressure moments in your business.

I’m not saying you will not succeed without a formal people & culture strategy – you may not NEED this to survive – but the likelihood is that you could be SO MUCH BETTER with a well planned approach to getting the most from your number one asset.

What can you do about it?

  • Decide – First step is making the decision that people and culture strategy is as important, if not more important, than your sales or marketing plan (Who is going to do the marketing and selling? A computer or a human?)
  • Act – Do something – get your partners or senior leadership team together and develop a comprehensive plan
  • Ask for Help – Not sure how to build an awesome plan that drives peak performance? Reach out to an expert. A good consultant won’t come cheap, but will deliver enormous value (paying someone $50k, $100k or even $500k may seem crazy, but not if the work they do generates $500k to several millions in human capital cost savings and/or helps drive similar business revenue).
  • Implement Continuously – Whether you have developed an excellent strategy on your own or with the help of experts, the only thing that will make a difference is if you implement it in your business, every day. (Strategy with inconsistent implementation is like going to the gym randomly a couple of times a month and hoping to get fit).
  • Evolve – We know the business landscape changes continuously, and discerning leaders adjust their business plans to adapt to those changes. Similarly, the people landscape changes – and good leaders adjust how they manage their people in accordance with changing expectations, generational differences, and the like.

I think about the modern family – in which parents are doing everything they can to bring their kids up healthy and happy, and preparing them in the best ways possible for the chaotic world ahead. When do you stop investing in your family?

It might be time to see your business family as a worthwhile investment!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Dr Sean R


New Years Resolutions: PASS or FAIL? – 3 Tips to Get it Right

As we begin another year, there is often a sense of hope for an improved version of what has gone on before. Creating New Years resolutions to make your life better has become a tradition in many parts of the world.

Some New Years Resolution stats:

Top 5 New Years resolutions for 2014

1 Lose Weight
2 Getting Organized
3 Spend Less, Save More
4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5 Staying Fit and Healthy

Percentage of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions 45%
Percentage of people who are successful in achieving their resolution 8%

How is that working for you? Are you one of the 8%? Or not?

The thing is, the mechanics of our brain create predictable roadblocks to achieving those New Years resolutions. So, what can you do about it? Implement the 3 following tips based on the psychology of excellence:

Add WHY to your WHAT

  • A key survival strategy in our instinctual brain is the conservation of energy… that’s right, being lazy is an instinct when not under survival pressure. To overcome survival laziness in going after WHAT you want, it helps to find multiple big reasons WHY you want to achieve your goal. Want to lose weight? Yes, do it because you want to feel healthier… but reach further: Because it will inspire your kids or your loved ones. Because it enables you to go skiing with your grandkids 10 years from now. Because it means you will have more energy every day to achieve your career and financial goals. Because it will help you complete your bucket list… and so on.

TO DO: Write down the WHAT (result) and the all the big WHYs (reasons) you can think of. Read them every morning to get you jumping out of bed and into action.


Measure your progress by ACTION not results

  • Results don’t create results. Actions do. Get your actions right and the results will take care of themselves. Problem is, most people only measure progress by the results. If you have a good action plan (helps to get some input from an expert), the behavioural science of change tells you to expect more failure than success at the early stages of your journey. The challenge is that failure also triggers the laziness instinct. The key is to measure your progress by how well you have stuck to your plan. In the weight loss example, not getting results early on can be discouraging, especially when you are not celebrating your actions. Sometimes, we also get short term results from the wrong actions, which can do more damage in the long term.

TO DO: Acknowledge yourself daily and reward yourself weekly for completing your action plan. Enjoy the results when they come, but remind yourself that the actions are what got you there.


Take BREAKS at the right time

  • The best athletes in the world have learned that disciplined recovery, scheduled time out from their busy training regimens, is as important to achieving their Olympic sized goals as the training itself. Many of us, however, have been programmed to think that more is always better; and although big goals do demand big effort, creating personal downtime that re-charges you daily and weekly is essential to maintaining the energy required to stay in action.

TO DO: Schedule 30min in every working day to do something enjoyable and relaxing just for you. Plan for at least a half to a whole day of the weekend to be without work or other stressors.