Updated: Aug 22, 2022
We spend the best years of our lives and the best hours of our day at work, so having a work environment that you and your team love is worth aspiring to.
You can have a great mission, a great strategy, and a fantastic client or customer base, but if your culture is off you run the risk of risking it all.
Peter Drucker’s quote, culture eats strategy for breakfast is true, and those that know me, know I love strategy. I’ve seen companies with the most well-developed, articulated, and inspiring strategies fail due to poor culture. I’ve also seen companies with an amazing culture but a really weak strategy, thrive!
Convinced of the power of culture in organizational success, we developed a culture development arm to Evolve’s service offering that we like to run in parallel to our strategy development.
Here are five things you need to know about creating a great company culture.
1. You already have one.
The question is, is it by design or default? Good, bad, or ugly - you have a culture in your organization already. The day your company started, so did its culture. The good news is, if it isn’t that great there are plenty of things you can do to change it. It starts with clearly defining and designing the culture you want.
2. It’s no longer a luxury if you can afford it. It’s a must!
Gone are the days when focusing on having a great culture was only for when you had the time and resources to allocate to it. Culture has surpassed remuneration as the greatest influencer of employee well-being. It will have a significant impact on increasing your bottom line, and if you're recruiting Millenials, Gen Z’s, and the upcoming Generation Alpha’s, culture is going to be critical to the attraction and retention of your team. These guys are happy to take a 20% reduction in salary to move to a work environment they love.
3. Don’t underestimate the power that clarity of roles, expectations, and communication play in building a great culture.
I was once parachuted into a company with some challenges in its culture (real bad) and I was asked to run some team-development activities. You know, the team building, kumbaya, trust falls, kind of stuff. I thought it best to talk to staff first about what they thought was going on, and the number one issue causing most of the toxic culture was a lack of clarity in who does what, where roles started and finished, and how decisions were made. No trust-fall activity was going to solve that. I would have been sued after the first broken back!
4. What you tolerate, you will grow.
Culture isn’t just about the values and norms you desire to have, it’s also about the negative behaviors you tolerate. Don’t address the bitching and gossip and you will grow it. Leave the team member with the anger issues alone and you will perpetuate the behavior. You have to have the courage and boldness to address the behaviors that have a negative impact on your culture.
5. You, the leader, play a bigger role than you may think in establishing and maintaining it.
You set the tone and you model the way. Monkey see monkey do. The first and the best thing you can do as a leader, once you have designed the culture you want, is to wholeheartedly live it. You can define it with your team, you can put banners up around the office, you can incentivize it, build your HR structures around it, etc, etc but if you don’t live it, it will not change.
The first place to start is to listen to your team/s and gather your bearings before creating the culture you want. We’ve developed a quick and cost-effective culture pulse survey that you can use to start the process. Feel free to reach out if it might be the right place to start for you. Happy to help.