If you ask Marcus Lemonis the secret to a great business, he will tell you it is people, products and process. In this investors opinion you cannot have deficiencies in any of the three areas and still build a successful business. It is one of these pillars we will be talking about today, people and more to the point the culture of your company.
What is company culture? It is a set of beliefs and behaviors that should flow throughout your entire organization. Many times the culture develops organically based on the people who work within the organization. Of course, it is possible to shape your company culture; in fact, it is preferred over just letting it happen.
How do you manage to create a specific culture and when should this process begin? From the beginning. A small startup company with a handful of employees will by nature develop their culture from their founding members vision and personality. Startups typically have a culture all their own by default. At this point in the game, all decisions are easily discussed among the leaders and implemented forthwith. However, when the organization begins to grow beyond the initial employees it is time to really drill down on defining your company culture.
What will your defining ambition be? While your organization may do many things and have a three ring binder, filled with details such as company manifesto, mission statement and operating procedures, but what is the one thing you strive for above all others? Is it leadership, quality, innovation, service? Whatever that overreaching goal is it needs to be implemented fully and communicated.
Culture is not merely, what you say it is, the truth is actions do speak so much louder than words and this, all begins with the leadership. The management team in any company must daily walk out the core value of company culture whether it is leadership, transparency, teamwork, customer success or any other company culture you want to fully implement.
It is important to note that your company culture may not be fully where you want it to be, and it is okay to bring that up in training new employees. Let’s say communication is your key value, but at the moment, not all members are putting it as a priority. During training, you can delve into that by saying we know it is not where it needs to be, but we are looking to you to help lead the way to a better company culture of communication. Employees prefer transparency. This will also provide a way for new employees to engage in a positive way and impact the culture immediately in a positive way.
Once you have determined and established the company culture for your organization it is vital that it stays at the forefront of your organization starting with the top dog in the company and trickling down through the ranks. Deviations from the core principle of company culture needs to be dealt with decisively and firmly. While you are at it remember to take the time to listen to your employees about what is working and what is not as well as how to fix it, these are your boots on the ground so to speak and their input is priceless.
Creating a company culture that reflects your core values is important on so many levels of business. Not only will this help shape future decisions, it also, helps foster a feeling of community and employee loyalty. People like to know where they stand and what the important aspects of their daily job are, if everyone knows customer service is the company culture they can act more confidently and quickly.
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