In a blog earlier this year, Growing as a Business Leader in Seven Domains, we briefly touched upon gaining familiarity as a business leader with your company’s ecology and culture. Your business culture is formed from the start and evolves throughout the lifetime of the company. It is a major part of employee pride in the company and how customers feel about you. Your company’s culture is integral to its success, and a toxic or dull culture spells certain failure.
Dr. Ivan Misner, in an article for Fox Business, defines culture as “a variety of contributing factors including a blend of attitudes, beliefs, mission, philosophy, and momentum that help to create and sustain a successful brand.” Misner goes on to say that your business culture represents your vision, behaviors, beliefs, and traditions, which are taught to new members of the organization.
Having a strong business culture your team members can count on starts with having a strong mission statement and defined organizational goals. These should be created when your business is first conceptualized and it should act as the backbone of your business plan in order to foster a vision of the future you will develop as a company. As your organization grows and matures, these guiding statements may evolve to meet the times, but they will always provide the framework for the business you conduct. They will define your company culture, which is the key for your organization’s long-term success.
A strong vision will fire up your team and keep them inspired, by repeatedly reminding them of the shared organizational goals they are working toward. Everyone in your company – whether they are a team member or leader should share in your company vision and be on a mission to achieve company goals. When you have a concrete vision that your team can identify with, your company’s culture will be reinforced and your team members will grow with the company as they strive to achieve its vision and share it with your customers.
You can also establish traditions within your organization that re-enforce your positive vision for your company. This can include celebrations for meeting short or long-term goals, or even providing morale boosters for outside activities. When Dave Ramsey asked his Facebook fans to describe traditions that help make their companies great, a variety of activities and incentives were mentioned from having a delivery of Sonic drinks to the staff once per month to providing an extra week’s vacation and a sum of money to employees who wanted to take part in overseas mission trips. These traditions help boost morale and ultimately maintain a healthy organizational culture. Additionally, you can establish a rich system for recognizing and rewarding success within your company – from giving bonuses to simple notes of appreciation, team members will thrive in a positive culture that establishes traditions and rewards success.
Engagement and collaboration are also critical keys to establishing a positive company culture. When your employees know they can count upon other team members and leaders within your company for support, they feel more secure in the shared vision and they feel more comfortable as they interact with each other and with clients. By engaging with your employees you show that you care and that you are in the trenches right alongside them. This collaborative spirit will make employees feel more like a team with a strong leader and less like put-upon plebes under a boss. The team spirit will build a positive culture within your company and make employees feel like they have a true investment in the success of your business and are part of the culture.
Another aspect of building a strong, positive culture in your company is education and mentoring. A business that has turf wars, cliques, and features bosses running their own private “fiefdom” is unhealthy and non-inclusive, especially to new team members. Instead, your company should be inclusive and every team member and leader should be working hard to educate new employees about the company’s values and culture. Once again, having a strong vision that you and your team can share is vital to making new members feel like one of the team, which in turn encourages them to mentor newer employees who enter the company.
When you establish a healthy culture at your company that focuses on vision, tradition, engagement, and education, your employees will develop a strong and supportive attitude aimed at success.
Over the past 25 years, Alliance Group International has worked with over 600 companies in 27 different countries – 130 of those being start up companies. AGI is committed to creating programs and processes that accelerate sales and revenue cycles. If you need assistance in creating a mission and vision for your company, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to assist you in planning and executing a viable, profitable program for your company. Please feel free to comment and let us know what kind of culture your business has and how you have helped establish and grow that culture – we look forward to hearing from you.