Is there real value in developing a business culture?
Much discussion of business culture and internal and external brand identity has taken place. Is this just a tick-box exercise that offers a nice glow, or is there real value to consider?
The short answer is that culture should be incredibly important. It should form the core of your business and provide a clearly defined set of standards and values that inform all subsequent plans and decisions. A strong culture is not a corporate afterthought but something that precedes success.
Define your culture
Whether you have given it thought or not, your culture already exists. By defining your values and fostering a healthy culture, you can take charge of your core beliefs and develop a proactive plan to either change or maintain them.
If you have not done so already, establishing a short list of core values will benefit you and your business in several ways. Think of these values as a way to cement attitudes and expectations.
Central tenets should influence everything from your company logo and other basics to high-level, business-changing strategies. You will find that decision-making becomes easier, as you can always compare your options against your values to see which offer the best fit. This enables you to act in an authentic, consistent and transparent way. Without knowing who you are and what you stand for, it can be difficult to decide on your direction at all levels.
Once you have established these values, you and others will be able to identify and address any areas that do not match and highlight existing problems that may not have been immediately obvious.
Surround yourself with those who share these values
If your team does not buy into your core values, then it will not fit in well with you or your business. Conversely, you should see that those who do share these beliefs and act consistently to uphold them will thrive and boost your success. Make the appraisal of individual compatibility with your core tenets an important part of your processes for both existing team members and new recruits.
Eventually, you can weed out workers who do not share your values. Happy staff members may then encourage like-minded friends, family or acquaintances to join you. A team that holds the same basic ideals will work well together, progress the business in the right direction and allow you the benefits of higher retention.
You should also consider your customers. If you are finding a client relationship particularly challenging, then try measuring up and comparing your values. At the very least, this will help you understand how to uplift customer satisfaction, retention and referrals. If there is a severe disconnect, then it may even be better for both parties to part ways amicably.
At the same time, if you are looking at new prospective clients and see that your values match, then make sure that this forms part of your strategy in securing their interest.
Whatever you do, reinforce your culture regularly and give it both internal and external visibility. Work your values into regular meetings and include them in your seasonal reporting.
By promoting success stories where individuals, teams or business decisions demonstrated a commitment to these values, you will encourage them to become a part of everyone’s day-to-day activities.
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