Remember the old bumper stickers from the 1970s that said, in sanitized form, manure happens?
Manure might happen. Culture doesn’t. Or, more specifically, you can let culture happen, but if you do, you might end up with manure.
The best cultures are purposely built through a team effort, aligned with a set of unifying goals and objectives. And as the leader of your company, you have a profound impact on that team effort and goal-setting. Whether you’re setting a positive example or a negative one, your people are going to follow in lockstep.
Interested in building a company culture with purpose and set the tone to make it happen? Here are three things to remember.
- Engage people emotionally. Appeal to the intellect of your team to achieve buy-in with reason and logic. But you won’t truly get your team members on board with your values and goals if they’re not impassioned. Company cultures live and breathe when core values align with personal values. To achieve that, you must bring the values and aspirations of the company to life through stories, recognition for those who embody them and consistent reinforcement of the plan for success.
- Give people ownership. To appeal to team members on a personal level, guide them toward their own paths to self-realization. Let them find their own personal triggers that motivate them to embrace and live the core values. Some people are driven by bottom-line profits, while others are driven by serving customers at the highest level. If you can help connect the dots, your people will draw their own conclusions. Showing is always better than telling. It’s the essential difference between a leader and a manager.
- Hold people accountable. Accountability is essential to maintaining a culture. After your team has defined it and is living it, it’s everybody’s job to make sure their teammates keep living it. That means everybody at all levels. Good organizations have top-down accountability, but great organizations also have bottom-up accountability, and the best organizations have lateral accountability among peers. By fostering accountability among superiors, subordinates and peers, you remove ego from the equation. Everyone is working toward the same goals, and everyone is comfortable with coworkers — above, below or beside them — holding them accountable for achieving those goals.
Ron Kaminski is the founder at CultureShoc. If you need assistance on building a better company culture, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.