When you are in business for yourself, you get to set the culture – you set the tone and you create the type of business that you want to be a part of and that is ultimately attractive to customers and employees. Although owning your own culture can be a huge advantage, it can also be very tricky – you need to know how to do it and how to do it right.
Studies have shown that businesses that center their culture on improving people’s lives had a growth rate triple that of competitors in similar industries. Here are a few proven ways to get you started on building a great culture.
Know what you stand for. Your personal values and priorities are reflected in the culture. Regularly engage with team members, customers and suppliers in keeping your values in the forefront. People are watching what you do, so walk the walk, demonstrate the values.
Communicate your vision, than make it so. Mission statements should be outward focused and address a higher purpose, beyond the company’s financial statements.
Implement the right team and empower them. Plan what your organization needs to be capable of and how you will build your competitive advantage. Get the help you need, hire people that are smarter than you are, dictate tasks, yet stay very connected to the decision making in the business. React quickly to correct any team member issues.
Stay on the leading edge. Remain in the forefront of great customer service, operational excellence, and better business models. Seek ways to engage with your customers in fulfilling needs that they didn’t even know existed, to do even more than what is expected.
Create a culture of excellence. Let your team know every chance you get, what is expected of them and the high standards that your business stands for. Give your team the opportunity to step up to the challenge and respond so your customers will notice.
Coach at every opportunity. Every interaction, every circumstance can be an opportunity to teach, train and keep your team focused on delivering the best possible outcome. Great leaders and great companies have a culture rooted in training and improving their teams.
Create an atmosphere of fun. All work and no play makes for a dull workplace – make sure you include some fun in the business. Look for appropriate places to interject some fun activities, contests or events into the workplace. Teach your team and your customer to expect that doing business can also be fun.
Creating the right culture for your business doesn’t require a fanatical approach, but it does require that you approach building a culture with purpose and deliberation. Take this effort very seriously, have some fun with it – and enjoy your workplace.
YOUR CHALLENGE: Put your culture into writing. Then rate your company performance against your cultural ideals, look for any gaps and put a plan in place to make course corrections.