I had the pleasure of being invited to a meeting at the Adidas Head Office in Stockport this week and took time to reflect on how refreshing and inspiring it was to see how leaders engaged with colleagues.
The building was full of inspirational quotes and images, some taken from the original Adi Dasler standards others new but these alone do not create the culture within.
A lending library positioned under a signed All Black rugby shirt set the tone in the central atrium, where individual pods/booths shared floor space with larger, communal dining tables. The atrium was vibrant, light and full of energy.
The leader I was meeting interacted seamlessly and with ease with every colleague we came across on the visit. The obvious warmth evident and the impact of 'noticing' clear. Be it a discussion around upcoming football fixtures or a 'what are you up to with the kids this weekend?' - each encounter was genuine and enduring.
The leader then described how he had invited a number of junior colleagues for a group breakfast, something he did regularly, where he shared his journey within the organisation, discussed and shared his own values, vision and experiences - including mistakes and key learnings. At other occasions, listening to colleagues, mentoring, guiding but engaging genuinely. Noticing, listening and remembering!
For some this may seem over the top or indulgent but the thing about a 'high performance culture' is that you have to continually nurture it or it is easily lost. You have to treasure it and nurture it every day. You have to 'notice' and care.
Culture is about 'feel' and you cannot create a positive culture without being humble, demonstrating humility and empathy in abundance. It simply isn't emblazoning walls with posters and mantras, super sized with inspirational images. It is not about grand gestures, motivational speeches and charismatic leaders.
High performance culture is 'noticing' the small things, all of the time, with everyone in the organisation. It is how you make colleagues 'feel' being part of your team or organisation.
I cannot think of a better demonstration of 'living' the culture.