How to implement culture is a subject I get asked about all of the time. It’s something so many people want or they want to change, but they don’t know how to do either. I can promise you this: You will have culture. It just may not be the one you want.
You see, wanting it and creating it are two completely different things. If you don’t make sure it exists in the form that you like, outside forces will create it for you. And then, it’s a pain to reverse.
How does culture get created at your company by others? When you hire folks and don’t lead them, they give you lip service but begin to create the atmosphere they desire. It’s not uncommon for them to begin to gossip and backstab to get their way. As dramatic as it sounds, they begin to spread poison throughout your team. Next thing you know, you have a atmosphere that is nothing like you want it to be.
How can you avoid allowing people to create their own? It’s simple:
- Force It – “If it doesn’t fit, force it!” was a saying I heard as a kid. It’s meant to be a joke. But in this case, you really need to force your culture! You have to make your whole team realize that you will do whatever it takes to create the desired outcome.
- Teach It – Whatever you want your business to look like, you have to spend time teaching about it in your staff meetings, team meetings, one-on-ones, etc. Say it so many times that your team can finish your sentences.
- Recognize It – It is a well-known fact that people do what they get rewarded for. If you spend your time telling team members only what they’re doing wrong, that’s where their focus will be. But if you recognize that they are doing a great job by not gossiping, being team players and taking care of each other, then they will work hard to protect that culture.
- Attack It – If you see something happening that’s hurting your business, go after it quickly!! Your team needs to know that you will attack anything that is attacking your culture. If you don’t, your team will eventually come to believe that you don’t care about keeping a strong culture for them.
- Repeat It – You can’t implement culture and hope that it stays that way. You have to keep it in front of everyone ALL of the time. Again, bring it up from time to time in staff meetings. Celebrate it at big company events. Champions want to see that you will stand for that cause. When you do, so will they.
If you’re just starting out, forcing culture is easy. You just do it. If you’ve been in business awhile and you need to turn the ship, understand that it will take some time. However, being passive won’t make it happen. Roll your sleeves up and go to town, metaphorically speaking. Don’t actually go to town … well, except to go to work, if that’s where it is.
Question: What methods have you used to make your culture stick?