Developing a Company Culture
Posted By Kade Wilcox | July 20, 2021
When measuring success in your business, what are a few of the identifying areas you would consider? Like many business owners, you may look at productivity, revenue, or customer satisfaction.
But what about strong company culture?
Your company's culture is more than just the physical things like a cool building or casual dress code. It plays a role in every aspect of your business and directly influences the success of your company and your team's satisfaction. A recent study I came across shows that 86% of employees who feel happy and valued at work claim their workplace has a focus on culture.
So, how can you develop a healthy culture?
How to develop your company’s culture
Establishing a strong culture for your company may seem daunting. But I’ve come to find that the more difficult we make things, the more out of reach they can feel. When defining your culture, and this includes your core values, keep it simple.
Instead of narrowing in on super specific values, think broadly. With broad descriptions, it’s easier for your employees to really relate to your beliefs and core values.
Something I developed to help myself and others achieve a strong culture is the four D’s: define, document, discuss, and demonstrate.
Define: Describe your company culture
This can be a tough first step. Defining your culture takes a level of self-awareness, and you may find that the culture you want isn’t the culture you currently have.
I know this to be true because I’ve been there. But I have some good news: you have the power to change this at any time.
As a leader in your company, you can establish the shared beliefs and core values you want to encourage among your employees. These values should align with your personal beliefs and convictions and speak into the goals, attitudes, and character you want your company to reflect.
Document: Write it down
When you’re confident that you can describe your dream culture, write it down. Seriously, don’t skip this step. Studies have found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Those aren’t bad odds.
Plus, having a physical copy of your culture provides clarity and accountability for your team.
Discuss: Talk about it
When I’m passionate about something, I want to talk about it all the time and tell everyone I see about it. That’s how you should feel about your company’s culture and the direction of your growth.
Keep it at the center of your weekly leadership meetings, make it a talking point in your next all-team meeting, and highlight it in interviews with potential hires.
Talking about your culture reminds you and your team of who you are and who you want to be.
Demonstrate: Take action
Words are great, but action is better. This step takes commitment and it takes discipline. It's up to your company's leadership to set an example of what your culture looks like. After all, if you don't embody your culture, why should your employees?
Learn from the failures
Failure is one of the richest gifts we have if we're willing to learn from it and be intentional. And as much as it hurt, I learned a lot from my early failures when starting Primitive. While I’m grateful for the lessons in these struggles, there are two main things that I wish I would have placed value on from the beginning.
First, I wish I would have defined our culture sooner. Second, and most importantly, I wish I would have hired our Chief of Staff back when we reached 20 employees.
When Annie joined our team back in 2018, you could feel the energy change in our company. When I talk to business owners today, I’ll ask them, “Who’s managing your culture?” And I’m not talking about payroll or HR. I’m talking about the person who’s ensuring your culture is upheld, who advocates for your employees, and ensures you’re hiring the right people for the right job.
Operate within your strengths
I’m the first to admit that I can’t do it all. There are several areas where I fall short. Instead of seeing this as a weakness, I choose to lean on the strengths of those around me. I don’t have to be a great manager because we have great managers. I don’t have to be a great developer because we have great developers.
While I hope that I have a huge impact on our culture and speak into our culture, our Chief of Staff utilizes her strengths to really take the lead in these efforts and she does a phenomenal job. I've identified my strengths, and try to operate within those lanes.
In your business, look for people who can work alongside you to fill the gaps where you need support. You're only as good as the people you're surrounding yourself with.
Set boundaries and expectations
Your time is one of your most valuable resources. Think about it, we all only have a limited amount, right? You make decisions every day about what you’re going to do with your time, resources, and energy. Clear expectations and healthy boundaries are essential when determining what is most important to you and what you make time for.
These values will pour into every part of your life, from your work life to your personal life. Identify these values and communicate them often with those around you, from your family to your team. When you’re living with more intention and purpose, it’s going to reflect in all that you do.
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