A successful business culture is not just a random act. It is a conscious team effort that must be visible to all who become associated with the business. This includes executives, employees, potential new hires, vendors, customers, shareholders, and any other stake- holders. What kind of culture do you want for your business?
Admittedly, while I am not a huge follower of college basketball, I do enjoy going to Viejas Arena to watch the San Diego State Aztecs play. I was also sad to see them get knocked out of their possible first-ever appearance in the sweet sixteen just a few days ago. Part of the excitement of watching the Aztecs is the game itself and the other is the way the crowd is drawn into the action. The gym is always packed with fans, especially the spirit section. They really try to draw attendees into the moment with quick pans of adorning fans appearing on the big screen during a time-out and half-time entertainment to keep the energy flowing.
Do you think this big draw is a random act, or has a cultural development team been working tirelessly to make that excitement part of the San Diego State University culture? Looking at SDSU’s mission, you will see that it clearly promotes “a well-balanced, high quality education …” as well as “The development of … social institutions”. Aztec basketball at Viejas Arena is most definitely a social institution. Random act? I think not. No, a successful business culture is not just a random act. It is a conscious team effort that must be visible to all who become associated with the business. This includes executives, employees, potential new hires, vendors, customers, shareholders, and any other stakeholders.
What kind of culture do you want for your business? A winning culture like that of the teams participating in March Madness? I know I would like to be a part of a winning culture. And remember, regardless of what you determine your winning culture is, it is those who work with you that need to embrace the culture to make it truly a winning culture. Making a conscious effort to create a culture starts from the moment you open for business. When you are hiring, the hiring process should include your culture. When you are building teams to achieve a specific goal, consider the culture in the team selection process.
While I cannot tell you what your culture should be, I can tell you that there are steps you can take to build the culture you desire.
1. Make sure all of the leaders in your organization have consensus on what your culture should be. The culture should be a visible part of your mission, vision & values.
2. At every opportunity, share this cultural goal with stakeholders. Incorporate the culture into training sessions, connect opportunities and daily actions. Continually instill the cultural goal in every learning opportunity.
3. Be consistent. A culture is not built from just a one-time event. It is something that you must live every day. How leaders respond to daily occurrences will have a major impact on the development of the company culture.
4. Make sure your cultural goals are measureable. If having a culture of star customer service is your desired culture, list specifics that could be measured to ensure there is success in achieving this cultural goal.
5. Acknowledge when someone displays the cultural goal you are trying to achieve. If someone demonstrates a desired cultural behavior, make sure it does not go unnoticed. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or fancy; a simple ‘thank you’ note goes a long way! Likewise, if someone does something that may not be in line with the culture desired, do not encourage that behavior by providing positive acknowledgement.
A winning team doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, dedication, persistence and determination to succeed. Nobody said it would be easy. Then again, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. As of this post, we are down to the final four. What will you do to make your company a cultural contender?