Updated: Oct 15, 2022
I've worked with a lot of people in a lot of different businesses and nothing makes the day go by slower than working beside people you don't necessarily enjoy being around. One of the things I love so much about owning my own businesses is that I get to design, encourage, and steer the culture.
Your company culture is the personality of your organization. You take a little part of each person on your team and mix it all together, and that gives you your culture. You throw in a little bit of lazy → you get a lazy culture. Mix in a little gossip → you get a gossipy culture. Hire an entire team of hard working people → you'll have a hard working company (and probably a company that will win and succeed!)
Here are a few tips for you on how to steer your company's culture!
Decide as early on as possible if you're just starting a business, or as soon as you can if you're already in business what you want your culture to look like. Once you bring in someone who doesn't fit your ideal culture, it can be very hard to correct course! If you're just now starting out and have no employees or teammates, you're way ahead of the game. It would be a wise move to slow down and make sure you have your culture blueprint in place BEFORE you begin to grow.
Try as hard as you can to not settle for someone who doesn't fit your culture. It's doubtful that you'll find exact matches time and time again, but do your best to only hire people who match your culture blueprint.
Depending on how in-depth your culture blueprint is, it may be helpful to have different layers or tiers. My own set of Culture Blox is below as an example. The 5 on the bottom are what I would consider my core values. The next three are just traits that I encourage in all of my team. The next two are areas I believe everyone could improve in. On top of my culture is Vision... Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision the people perish." For me, I don't necessarily have to have people with a grand vision for themselves or my businesses, but I DO want people who understand what vision is and can handle me talking about it. Having these different levels makes it easy to use the culture blox as-needed in different situations.
Talk about your culture often. I need to work on this myself, but anytime you CAN talk about your culture, you SHOULD talk about your culture! Are you making a hard decision? Bring out your culture outline. Are you trying to hire? Bring out your culture outline. Are you letting someone go from your organization? Show them your culture outline and explain that they are not helping you build the culture YOU want to build.
Don't be afraid to change it. I heard once that "Changing your mind is a strength, not a weakness" and it was a game-changer for me. If I change my mind on something, it's because I learned something new. You can absolutely change your culture outline, just don't get carried away. Maybe you only make changes once a year or semi-annually as you feel the need.
The leader gets to decide!! If you work for yourself or are the leader of your organization, then the final decision is yours! Period. It's great to get feedback from your team, mentors, advisors, and friends, but in the end, whoever has the majority of the RESPONSIBILITY gets the majority of the AUTHORITY. List out your options and then make your decisions. (and remember... it's okay to change it later on.)
It's okay to copy someone else's culture, especially to get you started. When I was writing my own culture blueprint, I studied the cultures of so many different companies - Chik-fil-a, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Apple, and more. I took bits and pieces of each and eventually got to my own creation.
If this process seems like too much for you, just take the next step today! I recently worked with a business coach who was certified in Lean Six Sigma and he was encouraging me to hang up some charts in my businesses to keep track of our growth. I was taking a few weeks to try and get the charts perfect before hanging them and he kept saying,
"Just hang the charts!" - Steve Dolat
In the end Steve won and I just hung the stinkin' charts! It's been several months now and a few of the things we were measuring are now obsolete. You know what? IT'S OKAY! I'll get around to changing them soon enough. So, if you don't have time right now to complete the entire project of designing your culture outline, "Just hang the charts!". In other words, find the next step you can take and take that step - create the document where you're going to write everything out, list out some options with a pen and paper, or do some research on a couple of your favorite companies, etc. You can just google "Company Name Core Values".
Do you need help with your culture outline?
Send me a message and I'd be glad to help! I've built culture outlines for many organizations and I would love to walk you through the process.