Company culture is not something new business leaders consider, particularly in the early phases of a career or within a startup. It is becoming more and more prevalent with the changing of cultures in our lives, more readily available subject matter and the onset of social media but is still overlooked far too much.
However, it is a very important factor not only because your culture will find its way to your customers but also can make or break a project. As your reading through the following think about the culture you want and need to be successful, then find a book that articulates it, read it understand it and then get others to read it and you’ll be on your way to the right culture, the right people and the right leadership.
Provide PURPOSE & VISION
Everyone in life needs purpose and vision, establishing why you are here and where you are going is critical to us humans. So why should it be any different when it comes to your job? It is not…
We spend around a 3rd of our life at work so being clear why the business you work for exists and where its going is just as important. These can be articulated in what’s a mission statement and vision statement.
Take the time to develop these two statements, if you can do this inclusive of your people all the better as people will engage far more with things they have played a part in creating.
LEAD don’t manage
Management is to control, leadership is to influence, considering yourself do you prefer to be controlled and told what to do? Or do you prefer to decide on your actions based because you deem them right?
This is the fundamental of leadership, how do you want to influence, motivate and enable people to achieve a common goal and more importantly how do you think others want to be motivated to achieve a common goal. Ultimately you need to find your own way in doing this, with your own style but these 3 seemingly insignificant words influence, motivate and enable should remain front and centre in your mind when leading your teams.
Servant Leadership [25th Anniversary Edition]: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness by Robert K. Greenleaf
Nurture VALUES & BEHAVIOURS framework
Cultures are challenging things to cultivate, particularly the right culture for your business. Your culture will make or break your business and so it’s important to nurture the right one for the product or service your providing.
One way to articulate the culture desired is through a set of values and behaviours which should align to your mission and vision statements. Even if your an individual with no staff it’s important to keep reminding yourself of your values and behaviours especially when dealing with difficult or demanding customers. You can see mine on the about us page under core values.
Some great reading on this subject to help start building these
Whilst not directly about creating organisational values and behaviours, it does demonstrate 7 habits which everyone should reflect on, and out of this, you can develop what you feel are appropriate for you and your business.
This is a practical, authoritative guide to focused, co-operative students. OK so this is not about business but the book starts from the premise that teachers cannot control the behaviour of children; instead, they must seek to influence it. This is exactly the same goal a business leader should have albeit a different audience, the principles are the same.
RECRUIT, DEVELOP and RETAIN the right People
In shaping a business culture and achieving success as a business, this is the most important element.
Let’s start with recruiting the right people, the other elements of the culture factor can help to define what the right person looks like, but fundamentally you need people that will nurture and enhance the culture you have or want to have. One wrong person can completely destroy a culture. So think hard about the type of person, do not focus on skills and capabilities alone, look at personalities, behaviours and ethics and ensure they are right for your business. This article will help in your recruitment process https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/employees/recruit/pages/7-steps-recruiting-right-people.aspx
89 per cent of miss-hires are for attitudinal reasons, not skills, so adopt recruiting to focus on 70% attitude 30% skills. This makes finding the right person much more challenging, skill and expertise identification is mostly a tick box and evidence exercise, identifying a person’s attitude is far more difficult. Here are some books to help with this.
So you have the right people on board, how do you keep them? The first thing to accept is, you will not keep everyone as many things will be beyond your control but you can do everything you can by enhancing the things you can control. Provide purpose and vision, do not manage – Lead, nurture values and behaviours, equip them to do the job and of course communicate and communicate well!
Equip with the right SKILLS & EXPERTISE
One other certain thing you can control when it comes to retaining your people is development. Giving them room and the support to develop and grow in whatever direction they desire (within reason of course) will pay back dividends. It will not only serve your retention, but it will also serve your business too. Individuals who want to grow in themselves will want to learn, so give them the opportunity to learn – training, project work, secondments to other teams, etc.
Good further reading on this, pay particular attention to number 2.
COMMUNICATION, Communication, Communication
Communication is the single most difficult thing to master and yet it’s equally the most simple thing to do and one of the most important. The skill is ensuring the balance is right. In my experience, it is the first fallback position to criticise in any business particularly when things are not going to plan.
You will frequently hear, “well no one has told me this” with the counter being “I emailed it to you 3 weeks ago”, “well I do not read every email” so how can you win in this scenario? Well, you cannot, easily… this scenario is the result of a combination of company culture, communication medium, individual personalities and preferences.
So how can you effectively communicate? Consider the following Type of Communication, Frequency, Medium, Content and Platform. In the spirit of building the right culture engage your teams or even delegate to your teams to build an effective internal communication plan that considers
- Type of Communication
So we’ve considered central communication, the second element of communication is nurturing the right individual communication get people to talk to each other, their peers, their line management, their executive team and their reports.