A recent survey of 515 small business owners noted that culture is an important contributor to corporate success. While that may seem like no surprise, it does echo the recent rise in questions about culture we’ve had from our clients. Many have asked us how to create the “Disney experience,” or how to encourage innovation like is seen at 3M or Apple, or even how to inspire health and wellness. While each of these goals is admirable, efforts often fall flat or seem like “mandatory fun” if they aren’t introduced in a sincere, meaningful and sustainable way. To this end, I assembled some things to ponder as you think about your corporate culture.
- Defining your culture: Before you outline what you want your culture to be, it is key to take a look at what your current culture is from the perspective of your team members. Creating a new culture can be accomplished, but it is essential to know if you are making huge changes in mindset and perceptions or if you already have a culture that supports the experience you want to create. Be realistic and honest in your assessment, as well as how quickly changes can be made.
- Outlining the structure: After identifying your current and future culture, you must evaluate your current structure and processes to see if changes need to be made. For example, if you embrace a health and wellness program that encourages team members to work out during regular business hours, what processes need to change to accommodate them being away from their desk? Or, if you have a goal of research & development, yet don’t have the resources allocated to support team members in these efforts, it will simply leave everyone frustrated. Outline the barriers to success and then figure out how to make things work.
- Communicating the change: Once the goals, structure and action plans are outlined, it is key to communicate the desired culture with all team members, and then continue to communicate, and then communicate some more. When you are tired of communicating and talking about the culture is when many will finally be hearing those key messages, so don’t give up. But, this is an instance in which you can’t simply talk about the culture; rather, be sure to set an example that supports the culture in all you do and say. Here’s a good read on this topic.
I am interested in what you are thinking about related to your corporate culture. Please share your ideas with the CCI team so others can learn and benefit from this discussion!