As is the case with all worthwhile things, establishing your company culture requires a lot of time and effort. Since you are a company leader and brand ambassador, you have tremendous influence on creating, developing, and sustaining your company’s culture. How do you get er done?
Let’s look at 3 key steps for establishing your company culture.
Creating Your Culture
You begin with the end in mind. Reputation matters; it determines how your customers value your company. What do you want it to be known for? What do you want your company to look like? This will vary from company to company, but it must align with your company’s vision and mission statement. Without these two vital components, your entire company lacks direction and is floating around like a blind man rowing a boat in the dark hoping to navigate the waters safely while praying to avoid catastrophe. Direction is imperative; otherwise, you can’t get there from here.
Developing Your Culture
Communicate your values and principles to those who work for you and those who you work with. Model the behaviors you want for those above, near, and below you. The old adage of “actions speak louder than words” definitely counts here. Saying one thing yet making decisions that are counter to your declared modus operandi result in a breach of integrity. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Do what you say, when you say you’re going to do it. Simple enough, right?
Any company culture where the trust factor is low works against developing a company culture that promotes growth and produces profits. Always be sure to guard your integrity closely and avoid making promises you can’t keep. Without integrity, your company culture is doomed. People would rather work for a dictator than a liar any given day.
Hire like-minded people who will be good ambassadors for promoting your company culture. As author Jim Collins taught in his book “Good to Great”, it is critical that you start by getting the right people on the bus. Be careful who you hire. This is especially true the higher up the food chain the position is that you are hiring for. With great power and authority comes great responsibility. You can’t afford to have your top people be a detriment to developing the culture you are aiming to create.
Sustaining Your Culture
In business, as in life, change is inevitable. In order to sustain the culture you have worked hard to create and develop, you have to ask lots of questions, some of which are very difficult. What is your company’s succession plan? Are the right people in place to carry out the plan? Who is on the bench ready to take on more responsibility? Who are your key employees that are vital to helping you maintain your company culture? Is that long time manager growing long in the tooth? Is that once darling employee singing a sour song that’s out of tune? Is your cousin, your brother, or your son really the guy you need taking over when you ride off into the sunset? Do you have any of the key information, philosophies, processes, and procedures written down somewhere? Are you the problem?
The future is unpredictable and filled with the unexpected. A wise old man I worked for a long ago told me that we needed to get what was in my head down on paper in the unforeseen event that I get in an accident. Things don’t always go according to plan. Sustaining your company culture after you’re gone requires thinking ahead and answering those difficult questions. Know where you stand now; it will be too late, later on.
Don’t Know Where to Begin?
Another wise old man told me the simplest way to start creating the company culture you desire is by treating people like you want to be treated. Do what you expect others to do. It’s a good place to start as you formulate your plan to create, develop and sustain your company culture.
Good luck, happiness, and prosperity.