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Got Culture?
  • 05 August 2019
  • Leo Covey

Got Culture?

Someone once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” (The source of who exactly coined the phrase remains a debate today.) Pushing the mystery aside, the axiom sheds light on the important intangible glue that holds any small business together. The values you celebrate, the secret truths you hold dear, the dedication to the people you employ — all of these and more make up your culture. And no matter how hard you try to grow and succeed with sound business strategy or the latest technology, they will always be the lesser-than copilots to your company culture. Though it can be hard to put a finger on and harder yet to articulate, there are some things you can do to make sure you are fostering a positive and nurturing culture in your organization.

Got Culture?

Lead with values

If you asked an employee, a client or a contact what your company values are, would they be able to answer? What if they asked you? While many businesses may have a mission statement or ethics code on the ”about us” page on their website, letting your values hide away in digital obscurity is not the same as living them. Start by establishing the values that are authentic to you, and then stay true to them at every turn:

  • Hire those who reflect your values
  • Implement training to reinforce your values
  • Align career development goals with your values
  • Survey your employees to find out if your values are resonating

Ensure work-life balance

Got Culture?

No longer a throwaway “woo woo” topic, work-life balance is one of the top 3 motivating factors for looking for a new job, which means that if you aren’t investing in it now, chances are your employees might be searching for it elsewhere. What is more important to the success of your company: that you make sure everyone is at their desk eight hours a day, five days a week, or that you use the mobility that modern technology affords you to consider more liberal policies? Due to shifting norms in the office, what may have looked like downright reckless behavior 5 to 10 years ago may seem more sensible or even appealing today. Consider all the ways you can provide your team more of the balance they crave:

  • Flexibility to work from home when your employees need to
  • Unlimited personal time or vacation
  • Four-day workweeks
  • Free gym memberships
  • Wellness breaks during the day

Practice an attitude of gratitude

Evolutionary science shows that our brains are hardwired to process negative information more quickly than positive information. When we practice gratitude, the art of giving thanks, it goes beyond merely doling out superficial kudos. We’re actually giving our brains the opportunity to refocus on a whole new, more rewarding way to send and receive information. The benefits to both the giver and receiver have the power to unlock a new level of happiness and dedication in both employers and employees. There are many ways you can start sharing some gratitude with the people important to your success:

  • Thank you cards and small gifts
  • Email “shout-outs” to your team
  • A gratitude bulletin board
  • Quarterly awards or bonuses

At the end of the day, culture is what you make it. If you take it seriously and invest in it, your business will be not only better for it but also a lot more interesting, fun and rewarding.

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