There is a constant conversation about what culture is when it comes to a business environment. It’s about values and how well you and your team embody and live those values in your professional (and in some cases personal) lives. Culture is also about how people feel when dealing with your business. It pervades everything you do and as a result, the wrong culture can have a devastating effect. Here’s five things you can do to improve, refine or define your company culture.
1. Have A Clear Vision
If you can’t articulate it, you can’t implement it. Culture is not an intangible thing that lives in conceptual world but a very real presence within your business. You need to be able to tell people what your vision is and demonstrate why it is important to the business. If you don’t have a vision statement, get one, and if you have a team then involve them in the process of developing it to ensure their commitment and buy in.
2. Value Your Values
Like your Vision, your Values need to be something you can articulate and demonstrate. Your values are the guide for how you deal with clients, run your business, manage your team and much more. I very useful exercise is to talk with your team and maybe even a few trusted clients to get their perspective on what they think your values are. Once you have defined your values, display them proudly and make them a part of everything you do. Authenticity and integrity are two things that will always win you more clients and quality team members.4
3. Care For Your Team
No one gets to the top on their own. Whether it’s with employees or contractors, we all need a hand getting to where we want to go because at the end of the day, we can’t do everything. Your team supports you by embodying your Values and Vision but you need to support them too. One of the biggest killers of culture within a business is poor morale. This can come about in many ways and you won’t always be able to avoid it completely but if your team feels supported and valued, chances are they will bring issues to you before they get out of control. Make sure in everything you do and every decision you make that you consider your team. What’s best for the business should always take priority but there is almost always a way to find a win-win solution.
4. Ask Questions
The best people to tell you what works and what doesn’t are people you already interact with. Clients, team members, contractors etc will want to make sure the relationship is leveraged as much a possible and so should you. Survey your team and you might be surprised at what you find out. Survey your clients and you will be even more surprised. Asking questions is about your business and their experiences and/or goals will gain you a wealth of knowledge that you can then use to improve and grow your business in a way that benefits the people you and others. There are a number of free and low cost survey services like SurveyMonkey that will allow you to this electronically and responses can be made anonymously if you think that will get you more honest and useful feedback.
5. Give Back To Get Back
Always remember that it is in giving that we receive the most rewards. Your time is precious so make sure you’re spending on things that enrich your life outside of your business. Charity work is great but you need to be connected to the cause or to the people involved or else it will just seem like PR hype. Sponsor events, offer scholarships, volunteer for local organisations. You’d be surprised how much time and money the big players in various industries actually commit to helping others. Be the kind of business owners who appreciates their unique position and leverages it to help others.