Your company culture is the glue that holds your team together and is the consistent factor that shows up again and again in everything that they do. It shows up in the different sectors of your organization as well. What do marketing and production have in common? Culture. Accounting and sales? Culture. An outsider could go into your organization and talk to your team and tell you exactly what your culture is. Would they say your culture is what you want it to be?
If the culture of your organization is “fast”, then everything should happen fast. The phone should be answered fast. Emails are returned fast. Projects are completed fast. Products are rolled out fast. You get the idea.
If that’s what you want your culture to be, then own it. Mention it repeatedly throughout your day. Remind your team of your culture regularly. If the company culture is not what you want it to be, then change it. You have the ability to lead your team in whatever direction you see fit. Don’t let history determine your future.
As the leader of your team, if you’re not setting the culture, someone else is, and their ideas are not the same as yours.
Let’s go back to the example above. Your company culture is “fast”-at least it is in your mind. You pride yourself in being responsive and never resting. But you don’t regularly talk to your team about it. You just do it and expect them to follow your example. Some will and some won’t. Some of your team may get bogged down in always being “right” and accurate in everything that they do. There’s merit to that, but it can often come in direct conflict with your ideas to be “fast”. Fast isn’t always accurate.
That’s part of the give and take of setting your culture. You may have a certain employee that will take time (maybe a day or more) to make sure that their email response to a customer is perfect and complete. That’s good, but if you want your culture to be based on fast responsiveness, waiting a day or more to respond is unacceptable.
You need to train your team to respond quickly every time—even if it means sending an incomplete answer. Once that quick answer is sent, then they can spend the additional time and effort to get the rest of the info and respond again accordingly.
Another company culture that is common is “customer satisfaction is our #1 priority ”. That is fine until you’re reviewing your financials and realize that your profits are slipping. Oftentimes, you have to make sacrifices and concessions to customers to ensure their complete satisfaction. You have to teach your staff how to balance these two competing forces—customer satisfaction vs. company profits. If they lean too much either direction, then you’ll have problems.
What good does it do to have clients that are 100% satisfied but your company is out of business because you didn’t make a profit?
The point is this: everyone has an idea in their head about what your company culture is. It’s your job to make sure that everyone’s thoughts and actions align with you. In marketing, they have what’s referred to as the “Rule of 7” which states that a prospect needs to hear the advertiser’s message seven times before they are likely to take action. As a manager, you’re selling your culture to your staff every day. Sell them something worthwhile.
You can download my form for culture action items here to help you stay accountable.
If you take an honest look into your organization and realize that the culture that you’re known for is not the culture that you want to be known for, let me know. I can help you change your company culture in a real and meaningful way that can lead to better team cohesiveness, which leads to more profit. firstname.lastname@example.org