Transparent. Connected. Motivating.
These are just a few words we often use to describe strong company cultures.
But for as much we talk about culture, there’s a lot confusion around what it really is, why it matters, and how we can build it at our organization.
This is unfortunate because company culture is one of your most valuable assets!
Culture is the ONE THING That Cannot be Stolen
Let’s be clear – most any advantage you have on your competitors today can be stolen tomorrow.
Your secrets can be leaked. Your best people can be poached. Your customers can jump ship.
We spend huge budgets on protecting these things from being stolen – but culture is one thing that no one can take away and few can duplicate.
It begs the question – are you investing the same amount of time, energy and money into building and protecting your culture?
You may craft a brilliant business strategy, but culture eats strategy for breakfast. Even the best laid plans will crash and burn on execution if they don’t account for your culture.
The benefits of a strong culture are hard to overestimate. A strong culture attracts top talent, improves retention, fosters teamwork and collaboration, and improves the employee and customer experience.
Furthermore, it translates into a stronger brand as your employees are more likely to tell friends and family about their positive experiences at your organization.
Most business leaders recognize the value of culture. But many don’t take the time to intentionally build their culture.
Your Culture is Always Being Built
Whether you build your culture by design or default, your culture is always being built.
In other words, your culture is always developing, whether it happens intentionally or not.
If you’re not DESIGNING your culture, you are risking creating a negative culture that churns and burns through employees, lacks accountability, and so forth.
You risk team members accepting and reinforcing behavior that embodies the negative side of your organization.
Look, nobody’s perfect. Every company has its flaws.
Building your culture intentionally is about overcoming those flaws to build the best workplace possible.
So how can you build a culture by DESIGN?
Make Sure Leaders Model Your Core Values
When creating your culture by design begin with your leaders.
Do they embody your core values? Do they live and breathe the behavior, beliefs, and actions that you want to see in your culture?
Team members model their leaders’ behaviors. Establish your core values and train leaders on how they model those values and ideal behaviors for the team.
For example, if you want to create a stronger culture of positivity, you want to make sure leaders at every level of the organization are expressing positivity in interaction with their teams.
If a leader is scowling or pessimistic, their team will never really buy into the culture of positivity.
Culture starts from the top and flows down to the rest of the organization. You must lead accordingly!
Align Your Teams With Your Purpose
Another way to intentionally strengthen your culture is to clearly outline your organization’s PURPOSE.
I’m not talking about money – I’m talking about the reason why you are in business and how you make an impact in the world.
One you establish your purpose beyond just profits, you can hire talent that is aligned with that purpose – and focus on retaining employees who are aligned with that purpose.
Having a shared purpose naturally creates a vibrant culture because it ties people together, gives them a shared mission, and creates a strong emotional driver.
Some people won’t align with your purpose. That’s perfectly okay – but they probably aren’t the people you want to spend your limited time and resources developing as leaders or upskilling.
Your Culture is Changing With or Without You
Your company’s culture is living, breathing and changing whether you’re involved in it or not. As a leader, it’s on you to intentionally develop and implement solutions to shape culture to your advantage.
Although it can seem intangible, the real benefits of culture can have a wide-ranging impact that lasts for decades. After all, the most successful businesses in history are all famous for having a unique culture.
If you’d like to brainstorm together about building your culture by design, email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.