Sunday, July 9, 2017

Eliminating Cultural Contradiction

"I have a foundational belief that business results start with culture and your people." --- Douglas Conant

The culture of a company plays more of a role toward the success of a business than most people know. The stale, dictionary definition of culture is,"The totality of socially transmitted behavior, patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and other products of human work and thought." All true, which is why cultural issues is the number one reason people leave a company--not compensation and not job fulfillment.

Creating a culture that embraces the company's vision and mission as well as satisfies employee's desires for belonging ensures the success of the business. Just how to do that eludes business leaders as they attempt to apply the latest gimmick to get employees to buy into their ideas and increase job engagement.

Thankfully there is a solution: Use this simple three-step process to jump start your desired business culture. Applying these steps will help you set the foundation for creating a culture that supports your business ideas and provides an inviting and encouraging work environment. 

I. Know and communicate your Mission, Vision and Values statement.
If you haven't already formulated these, do so today. One of the best ways to do this is to form a Mission, Vision, and Values committee to gather input from your team members and brainstorm until completed. Make this a priority and try to knock it out in a couple of weeks. 

Three things to remember when designing these statements:
  1. Make sure it fits your business
  2. Keep it short and easy to remember. (Edit it and cut out unnecessary words, then edit again and make more cuts).
  3. Have majority, if not unanimous buy-in. If not, go back and start again.
II. Once your statements are complete, reinforce that culture.
The reason many businesses fail in establishing the desired culture is because they typically post their Mission Statement on the wall and then forget about it. They expect everyone to know it and follow it's principles and it is simply not that easy. 

Make it a priority to reinforce your Mission, Vision, and Values throughout the week. In your weekly meetings, show examples of how an employee's or team's work reflected the company's values. Illustrate through customer surveys how the company's vision is coming through. Encourage feedback from team members on just how the culture of the company is viewed in the eyes of the community or vendors or even the competition. 

III. Give your culture the freedom to evolve.
Tony Hsieh, former CEO of Zappos, experimented with his company culture for many years before realizing that if you hire great people, share your values, and then let them run, a lasting culture eventually evolves. All you have to do is steer the company in the right direction. Try to remember that although the company has your values as the foundation, implementing your message may take many courses. For example, you may prefer separate offices with doors that will close, while your team may agree that an open environment without walls allows them to produce a better product or service. Or you may prefer white walls with doctor office paintings but your team members bring in a stuffed zebra, balloons, music, and even their pets. The bottom line is to develop a culture that works and not necessarily get wrapped up in the journey it takes to get there.

Try this three-step process today to begin creating a company culture that breeds success. It takes time, but is well worth it in the long run.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great thoughts on culture and how to create it. I love the intentionality of this approach. Whether an organization or business realizes it or not- they are creating culture and have one- so it pays to step back and be intentional and aware of the culture you are creating

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