How to build company culture:
Company culture is quite literally the foundation of company building. It goes FAR beyond a list of values. The goal: define and reinforce the behaviors which enable your company to win consistently over the long-term.
Step 1 defining behavioral values unique to your organization. The reason culture is so tough for most companies is because they can’t do it. Why? Quite simply: they themselves are unaware of what makes them unique.
This is a problem because Uniqueness is THE secret sauce to culture building. > Generic values lack substance and lead to weak cultures. > Unique values crystallize behaviors and lead to strong cultures. You’ll notice that many of the largest companies have unique cultures.
Let’s take Amazon as an example. Do I agree with all their cultural values? NO But, are their culture values unique? VERY And is their culture powerful? ABSOLUTELY The lesson: just being unique, substance aside, puts you in the top 1% of companies.
So, go ahead and reflect on these questions (and yes, off-sites are great for this): > What do you believe in that few others believe in? > What enables you to pull off things that others can’t? > How do you want your company perceived internally and externally?
Once you have behavioral values drafted: 1/ Make them catchy Because ultimately, the goal is usage! 2/ Write a list of DOs and DONTs Ie “In action this means X Y and Z” “This does not mean X Y and Z” Anything can be misinterpreted; make sure yours are not.
NICE! You’re done with step 1: define ✍️ Now onto step 2: reinforce 📣
Reinforcement = living and breathing your operating values each and every day. The best companies act consistently inline with their values. The goal: build enough of a habit where teammates can lean on the values to make independent decisions.
The result: less hand holding, more autonomy, major impact. 🦹♂️⚡️✊
Culture undeniably stems from the top. If leaders aren’t adhering to it their teams won’t. Behavior trickles down. It’s common for leaders to blame their team for not adopting the culture; in most of these cases it’s really the leader who isn’t adopting it fully.
The key: Repetition. Repeat the values during all-hands, 1on1s, standups, and every possible touchpoint. Think of company culture like a drumbeat 🥁 It needs to be familiar, repetitive and perpetual.
Another must-do: Measuring. Culture surveys should test for these values. Take it one step further and grade on these values for performance reviews. There’s a lot of truth to the statement “What gets measured gets done.”
And that’s it! Company culture, done right, is the “ultimate” force multiplier in any business. This topic deserves far more attention than it gets. I’m fired up to share these learnings with you all 🔥
If you’re new to my content, I tweet regularly about building businesses. Final tip: don’t forget to have fun 😄 Ok…now let’s get back to building!