As a leader, you have to encourage the right behaviors and make sure actions align with your company’s culture. The culture you create is the roadmap employees will use to make critical decisions. It is your job to create the unique environment where people can excel. It is the social and psychological connection where your employees will feel part of something bigger than themselves. If you create, support, or ignore the wrong culture, your business will fail.
A common purpose unites people together to accomplish goals, even with extreme personality differences. It is your responsibility to bring people together, communicate the vision, and drive the culture throughout all the departments.
The first thing you must decide is how you want others, internally and externally, to view your company. If collaboration and respectfulness is important, conduct brainstorming sessions, out in the open and invite participants. If trustworthiness and respectfulness are keys to your success, make the decision-making process out in the open with diverse groups of people. If driven and electric are the words you want people to use to describe your operation, reward speed and intensity.
Other descriptions for company cultures might be:
Friendly, Fun, Energy, Innovative, Loyal, Creative, Safe, Productive, Loyal, Competitive, Talented, Dedicated, Ambitious, Positive, Passionate, Growth.
Again, the idea is to determine how you want employees and customers to view the company. Culture tells your employees how you want them to respond. There are no blurred lines. Culture is their guide. The culture you foster help sustain employees enthusiasm and limit their stress.
Once you emphatically know what you want to stand for, you must communicate accordingly. Not just once, not just twice, but over and over and over again. This has to be ingrained into the core of each of your employees.
If you have a leadership team, it is critical they also over communicate the values of the company. They are your offense, if they have not bought in; the rest of the organization will have a difficult time adjusting. Make sure you have your management team’s buy-in first, and then you are ready for the blitz.
Size does not matter in this situation. Even if you are a one man/woman show, you are still creating a culture by the way you handle your suppliers, your customers, the Fed-Ex delivery person, etc. The larger your company, the harder it will be to change the culture if issues arise. The more people involved the more energy it will take to get cooperation. Yes, it is possible; it will just take more effort. You must stay connected and available to your staff and customers so you can address matters swiftly.
When you come to the realization you need to create or change your culture, you are going to need a lot of resilience, focus, and vision. You have to be fully engaged in the process and it will take every ounce of your leadership ability to get the results you need. The success of your business is in jeopardy if you do not take action.
Communication and feedback are vital pieces of this process. You have to be open to criticism and passionate about change. Nourish the culture.
You are going to find employees that cannot or will not transform to the new culture. In those situations, you need to determine how you will handle. Do not let them poison others and sabotage the outcome. If that is the case, there is no room for them within your environment. They will become toxic and will kill the culture.
When everyone adheres to the company’s values and corporate culture, there will be more team comradery. When you get your employees passionate about the values, you will find they become dedicated to accomplishing the goals. When you have full engagement, you can achieve extraordinary things.