Creating Company Culture | Build on Existing Company Culture

Creating Company Culture - Operationalize core values

Written by Ian Richardson

December 18, 2023

Creating Company Culture | Build on Existing Company Culture

By Ian Richardson, Principal Consultant, Fox & Crow

Inspired by Thursday Process with guest Paul Azad, Service Tree

Creating Company Culture

Creating company culture is hard. If you ask 10 people, you’ll get 10 different ideas on how to do it. The term “company culture” has a variety of definitions. Indeed.com defines it as the

“…shared set of core values & practices that define an organization.”

Over the decades, I’ve come to enjoy an adjacent definition of the term.

Company culture is the values, habits, & attitudes that exist today in your organization.

Emphasis on “today” is intentional. Culture is not an aspirational item, but you can have a “goal” for culture. Whether you have defined it or not, your culture exists today. Your team is filling in gaps on core values, vision, and the mission of your organization. What you do not communicate gets subsituted by personal beliefs.

Assumptions abound in quiet companies.

There are core values on your team – even if they aren’t the ones you’re looking for.

Attitudes and actions taken by your team defines how they experience your organization. They also define your customer’s experience working with you.

If your leadership is not careful, toxicity can tend to spread throughout a company.

I won’t say that there is only “one way” to create company culture. Get diverse points of view around the topic; forge your own path. Avoid pitfalls & frustrations that come from poor performance on teams. End the anxiety that stems from customer churn events.

Here are my lessons learned over the tears around the topic.

Building Company Culture

So how do we build company culture? Let’s look at that definition I shared again.

“Company culture are the values, habits, & attitudes that exist today in your organization.”

Building company culture then would be the installation of values, habits, & attitudes. Overtime – those items will become your “new” culture.

Habits and attitudes get set by Leadership. People will model the behavior you present. Start with living them yourself. Be willing to have conversations around your goal. Articulate your expectations.

Don’t expect Rome in a day, start small and focused.

  1. Choose one area to focus on.
  2. Gather perspective on the area: What is wrong about it? What questions are there around it? What would good look like?
  3. Involve members of your leadership team from different verticals in the business. Their perspective will make your understanding more robust.
  4. Set new guidelines around the perspective gathered.
  5. Have leadership model the behavior, alongside a communication campaign.
  6. Highlight people in public when they succeed with the new expectations. Correct & coach in private: no one needs humilation.
  7. Track misfires to measure improvement. You will see them decrease over time.
  8. Create policy & procedure around the new behavior to enshrine it for future hires.
  9. Repeat the process on the next focus area.

Changing Company Culture

I had a great conversation with Paul Azad, CEO of Service Tree, on company culture. You can see Paul in the below clip, but I wanted to highlight a learning I had.

Culture is how people work together to produce results in an organization. If people in your organization come to work dreading the experience, problems happen. Performance will be far from optimal. They will create a drag on the organization.

If you’re changing culture, focus on elimination of mundane, repetitive tasks. These “energy drain” items are not enjoyable for anyone. Use automation, change in procedure, and other tactics. Get the team involved in the solution: who doesn’t want to help make life better?

The less “bad tasks” you team has to do, the more enjoyment they’ll have. Owning up to making the work experience “better” will get a burst of involvement. Emphasize the first victories. Ask for “what’s next” on the hit list. Make it fun to create fun.

This effort will translate into performance and improved customer experience. Better customer experience rewards companies with improved sales. Those sales creates higher profits.

Final thoughts on Creating Company Culture

Culture takes consistency. Building, changing, or defining is hard. You will need to dedicate focus and resources to achieve your goal. Communication is mandatory for success. Allow for time and grace while pursuing the effort. Remember that plans do not self-execute.

But, as Tom Paterson said,

If you plan your work, and work your plan, your plan will work.

If you’re struggling to get started, grab some time and lets chat.

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