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Montgomery & Hansen LLP
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(posted: May 20th, 2013)
In January I wrote briefly about Culture Management as one of several areas leaders need to focus on.
In this post I'd like to take a step back and explore how to build your company's culture in the first place, and why you should do so.
At the most basic level, your company culture is the way you do things in your organization, and embodies your shared values and behaviors.
Your organization already has its own culture, whether you have created it intentionally or not, and you, as the leaders, are setting the standard for that culture.
Why create a great company culture?
Now, you may be asking, "How do I create this great culture? I'm not really comfortable with the idea of putting in free vending machines, and anyway, we can't afford that."
The first thing to do is to carefully assess what your culture looks like now.
What does it look like to you, and what are the actual experiences of your employees?
There are many ways to do this, formal and informal, with surveys, reviews, and other tools. This is one of those areas where a consultant can really help. My clients have found it incredibly beneficial to have my "outsider" perspective, developed by spending time in the workplace, getting a balanced, accurate view of their current culture.
You may be surprised by the results of your review - it is not uncommon for the leadership of a company to have a completely different view of the culture than the rest of the staff.
Company culture doesn't happen overnight.
It isn't something you send memos about and then watch it happen.
A positive company culture is one you have to build thoughtfully and intentionally, with a clear vision and clear, frequent communication.
You have to be a part of it - as trite as it may sound, you as the leaders have to "be the change" you want to see in your corporate world.
Your strategy defines where you are going.
Your culture will determine how you get there.
When you plan your business strategy, you set goals, and to reach those goals you create objectives, and activities or tasks which support the objectives and, ultimately, the goals.
Your culture encodes the values and behaviors that let you reach the goals in your strategic plan.
An example I love is the Lexus Company's rallying cry of "Beat Benz". That encapsulated their goal - to make a better product than Mercedes Benz. Yours may be more than two words, but you get the idea.
You have to talk about it and inspire people to achieve it every single day. It will take time, but...