Company culture is something that you can create in any company and use to help the company achieve its goals, mission and purpose.1OK, create is actually the wrong word. You’ll see.
Having a strong company culture gives your team a sense of purpose and direction. It brings the team together with a common set of standards and values. It can also make everyone more productive and generally happier at work.
These are all good things.
And the great news is, company culture is not just for Silicon Valley startups with 💰💰💰 to spend on in-house sushi chefs and pool tables.
Every company can develop a strong and beneficial company culture, including yours.
What Is Company Culture?
If your company was a person, your “company culture” would be his or her personality.
You can also think of it as how everyone at work behaves by default when no-one is looking.
Some business owners think that they don’t have a company culture. This is not true.
Every company has its own culture, even if that culture is a boring and straightforward “come in, work and leave” culture.
Create Discover Your Company Culture
You actually don’t create a company culture. You discover it.
Your company already has a culture, whether you are aware of it or not.
The best way to discover your company culture is to set aside some quiet, purposeful and reflective periods of time and think about it.
If you have worked out your company’s mission and core values, these will help. Sometimes these things alone can define a company’s culture.
It is also useful to look at your team. If you were to aggregate the personalities and characteristics of your most influential team members, what would that person be like?
You can also ask:
- How do we express ourselves at the company?
- What are our internal emails, IMs, events and themes like?
- How do we communicate with customers, partners, vendors and in our marketing and branding?
All these things contribute to company culture.
It may take months to deep-dive into your company culture, and there is no need to rush the process.
When you are ready, you can personify your company into an avatar and ask – what is their personality like?
That’s your company culture.
Influencing Company Culture
Now that you have discovered your company’s culture, you may decide that there are some things you would like to change.2Again, change is the wrong word. “Influence” is better.
There are a couple of ways that you can do this.
The first thing to realise is that the founder/CEO/owner/leader is the biggest influencer on culture.3This is probably you.
If the company’s leader is toxic, the company’s culture will reflect that.
If the company’s leader is good and virtuous, the company’s culture will reflect that.
The best way to influence your company’s culture is to be a living avatar of everything the company represents – its mission and its values.
As the leader, your people look up to you. Your senior people will take cues from you on how to act, and in turn become mini-avatars of the company.
The second way to influence company culture is by doing some purposeful culture-building exercises, like:
- Setting an annual theme.
- Having milestone celebrations.
- Encouraging team members to express their version of the company’s culture.
But trying to influence company culture directly is the 20%. The 80% that really matters, is walking the talk and living and breathing the company’s culture.
What To Do Next
Well, company culture isn’t something complicated.
It already exists – you just have to discover and identify it.
Then ask yourself: as the leader of the company, are you living it?
That’s how you influence your company culture.
- OK, create is actually the wrong word. You’ll see.
- Again, change is the wrong word. “Influence” is better.
- This is probably you.
Photo by vivek kumar.