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Culture – 4 Imperative Steps

organizational-cultureUnderstand. Define. Honor. Cultivate. 

Products and services can be duplicated, but people can’t. Your people, who ultimately drive your culture, are the ONE defining difference of your company. You can stand on a mountaintop and shout we have “this” and nobody else does – so make your culture awesome. Culture should be like a magnet to your internal and external target – employees and clients – future and potential.

The first-thing you have to do is understand and define the culture that you have in place.  If you don’t understand the value of your culture than you can’t put it to work for you. And, yes, culture can work for you. Thriving cultures become high-powered magnets, sought after gems, that pull people in. Better yet, once the people are in, they want to share it with others because they are proud and energized to be a part of it. Culture can be your absolute best marketing tool and once moving in a positive direction, it churns on it’s own.

1)    Understand

  • What is the driving force behind the energy to do work at your company?
  • What value are the employees interjecting into their work and workplace?
  • What types of people thrive most within your office environment?
  • What types of people perform poorly within your environment?
  • What do people like most and least about your company?
  • Why do you do what you do?

2)    Define

  • Create asset bundles with overarching titles that contain explanations of each segment of your environment.
  • Simplify the thoughts and explanations within each bucket to one-word values or 5-7 word impact statements.
  • Create an appealing culture roadmap with the information contained within your asset bundles to assist in telling the story of your culture for the purpose of – HR, Operations, Business Strategy and Marketing.

After you understand and define your culture it’s very important that you honor and cultivate it. By honoring it people internally and externally will be able to grasp the value. When it’s clearly understood, it’s easy to repeat and share. Google, Zappos and Apple are known for their flourishing cultures, although each are very different. It’s not the kind or type of culture that makes them resonate, it’s the fact that the cultures they have are honored and cultivated. These organizations view their culture as serious business. They clearly state who and what they are as an organization and are careful to add the right people, policies and processes to the mix. The right people strengthen the bond and intensify the magnetic energy well outside of the company walls.

3)    Honor

  • Lead by the definition of the culture you have created.
  • Make your culture known internally and externally through messaging and presentation.
  • Be consistent. Make sure ALL communication materials meet the defined culture standard – no exceptions.

4)    Cultivate

  • Your HR Department should adhere to the culture standards for all hiring and firing.
  • Make sure meeting protocol and project processes are inline with the culture that has been defined.
  • All internal and external communications should resonate with the culture definition.
  • When creating company policies and employee handbooks use the culture roadmap as your guide. By having a checks and balance in place you will be sure to only implement policies, and business and communication strategies that will strengthen and grow your culture.

Successful culture is not a one-step process and there is nothing superficial about it. You must dig deeper than what is at ground level to understand and define it. Then, if you expect it to grow, you must honor and cultivate it. Culture happens through genuine alignment of ‘what is’ and ‘what is said and done’ along with consistent messaging and the right people. Culture is a wise investment of time and energy; thriving culture creates big dividends for employees, customers, business and the bottom-line.

Chris Wood
Paige Technologies