When It Comes to Your Culture, Which Comes First: Action or Motivation?

Have you ever asked yourself what it takes to make a change? Does it begin with action? Or does it have to start with motivation? Well, let me share with you a personal story that got me thinking about this.

Ironically, it was a recent visit to my doctor that made me question what creates lasting change in our lives. For the sake of full disclosure, I visited my doctor for weight loss. I needed help. I thought going into the visit that meeting with my doctor would give me the motivation I needed to take real action in my quest to get healthier. What I realized though was a real breakthrough for me—that it takes action to get motivated. That regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet will actually drive my motivation to keep going forward.

What’s the parallel?

By now, I hope you’re shaking your head in agreement. To me, it’s simple: taking action leads to greater motivation. So how does this individual insight translate to organizational impact? Specifically, how can we relate this to company culture and the employee value proposition (EVP)? In a recent blog series I wrote on Taking Our Own Medicine, I discussed the journey of discovering our new cultural brand, or what we call Great On Purpose.

To tackle this project, we took the same approach as we would for any client organization—start with research. We talked to our leaders, employees and stakeholders. We looked at existing data and surveyed our workforce. Then, we moved our findings into creative development for the expression of our EVP. Our goal—express exactly what great looks like for our organization and articulate what it’s like to work here.

Where all the action leads

Reflecting on this process, I realize now that by taking the action of researching ourselves, we actually got the motivation we needed to make a change and create a culture that is Great On Purpose. Along the way, we were reminded that taking the steps of understanding who were are would allow us to further engage our employees, crystalize what it means to work for our business and use our new employment brand to begin new talent initiatives.

Since then, Great On Purpose has ignited our collective passion and we’ve seen some incredible talent acquisition and talent management efforts take hold. And it never would have been possible without first taking action—even when we didn’t know what we would uncover.

Reflecting on what it takes

Looking back, it’s now clear that our cultural journey has been the impetus we needed to refocus on our organization. We wanted to continue to improve engagement, retention and performance. And it took the first steps of getting going that led us to where we are today—a top performing employer of choice.

We didn’t always like what we heard in the process, but we were able to turn even our cultural limitations into assets. Just like I didn’t like my doctor telling me to stop eating chips and salsa when I visit my favorite Mexican restaurant, you often have to hear the truth during your quest for action to motive you further. But I’m happy to report, it’s with this mindset that I’ve already lost 10 pounds. And that’s just the beginning.

So now that you’ve read my post, I hope you’ll agree. When it comes to your organizational culture, what it often takes to make a difference is just getting started. Taking that first step. If you are interested in making your first move, let me know your thoughts or how we can help in your own employment branding journey. I guarantee it’s something you won’t regret.

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