How agile is your workforce?

A strong culture gives people a sense of belonging.

Erica Johnsrud
Erica Johnsrud

In today’s ever-changing work environments, organizations must act on information quickly, make decisions, and implement change to meet the rapidly evolving requirements of customer and employee engagement.

Along with solid tools and processes, it takes the right combination of resilience, social intelligence and capacity for action, aligned with a common organizational purpose, to create a strong foundation for buy-in and change.

In a study done by Dale Carnegie and Associates, agile organizations have shifted focus to:

1. Maintain company culture.

2. Create a common goal of customer focused objectives.


3. Have a positive attitude.

Current circumstances aside, these focus areas have always been a part of the people and companies that are outpacing the competition.

Maintain Company Culture in a virtual World

Culture is the personality of the company. A strong culture gives people a sense of belonging. Culture exists whether we do anything to build it or not.

Now more than ever we need a sense of connection in our teams. Here are a few tips based on our research and experience with clients:

· Identify the events and rituals you did “in person” and replicate them virtually

· Use physical props to connect when virtual

· Keep communication EXTRA-open


· Make your employees mental health and awareness a priority

· Keep celebrations, acknowledgments, and rewards going strong

It is the seemingly small touch points that show your appreciation for your team. As the newest member of the Dale Carnegie team, my welcome was filled with big celebration and little touches that introduced me to the culture and made me feel special. A small notebook in my favorite color, a sparkly bag that matches my aesthetic, and transparent leaders that are willing to share immediately upon my arrival. I feel seen, heard, and welcomed.

In what ways can you know your employees’ preferences and personalize their communication to make them feel connected? If your team is working remote, deliver something that is unique to them. Let them know the culture they have grown to love in-person is not dead. An easy way to start is to simply ask what it is they miss the most.

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” – Dale Carnegie

Create a common goal of customer focused objectives

A study done exploring high-performing teams confirmed the importance of having a strong customer focus. The research identified a subset of successful companies and examined how their attitudes and actions differed from the rest. One of the ways in which senior leaders at these winning organizations thought differently from those in other companies was their strong emphasis on the customer.

On our team, our clients are the most important piece of our solutions. In fact, the client experience is so important that I was hired to focus on making sure our client facing communication is clear, effective, and purposeful. To dig in deeper, I have had the chance to sit in on meetings and learn more about the different opportunities that are available to each unique client. This has set the stage and precedent moving forward to think of the client first.


A clear customer-focused goal can provide company alignment, reason for change, efficiency, effectiveness, and empowerment. Not only are employees engaged in a common goal and sense of purpose, but customers also feel connected and valued.

“A clear focus on creating value for the customer provides a true north for everyone in the organization and supports agility in several ways.”

Once employees see the importance you set on the customer, echo those efforts internally. Treating your employees with the same value as you treat customers fosters a commitment to your organization and results in a high achieving team.

Have a Positive Attitude

People with a positive outlook expect – and get – positive outcomes more often than those without it.

A positive culture helps people build their physical, intellectual, social and psychological resources. In the long run, these help people “bounce back” from adverse experiences, and in return supports risk-taking and makes it okay to fail. Research shows learning is facilitated when individuals possess a positive attitude toward new information and toward making mistakes.

Leaders can start by admitting their own mistakes – and they shouldn’t be quick to blame others. When employees feel comfortable with failure, your organization will see greater innovation, trust, speed, collaboration, and effective change management.

Dale Carnegie Principal #1: “Don’t Criticize, Condemn or Complain.”


The foundations for agility are at the heart of Dale Carnegie’s approach to relationships and the interpersonal skills he began teaching decades ago.

To learn more about how Dale Carnegie Training can help you strengthen the foundations of agility in your people and organizations in North Dakota and Minnesota, visit

Erica Johnsrud is the client experience and brand champion for Dale Carnegie of ND and Northwest Minn. Her people-focused attitude brings joy and fun wherever she goes.

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