27 Feb Grab your culture as you grow
Entrepreneurs often long to create a place they want to work. Somewhere where the culture is a perfect fit. In the early days, that is exactly what they have – a place where they feel totally comfortable and in their flow. But so often I see companies lose what made them special as they begin to grow. Suddenly they feel they have to ‘grow up’, and so much of what made them great, drops by the wayside and the entrepreneur finds themselves in a the corporate world they never wanted.
Nurturing your culture is so important to long term success. And for me, it all starts by making it clear what you value. This is different for every company, in the same way it’s different for every family. Its who you are, and how you do things.
Why not taking control of company values hurts.
If you haven’t explained how you want people to act, then don’t be surprised when they don’t do it! In a past life, I worked at a company with no official company values and a leadership team who each took very different approaches to work. This made it difficult for us, as employees, to know what approach to take, or what behaviours should influence decisions, or how to ‘be’ the company. So everyone just did their own thing. Needless to say this resulted in lots of clashes, miscommunication and indecisiveness.
The most frustrating thing was when you’d see ‘bad behaviour’ and have no way to call someone out on it. It wasn’t bullying, or nasty, nothing …‘HR-ey’, it was just counterproductive to work and totally draining. Without a set of values to work to, I felt my hands were tied. It would have been so much easier if I’d been able to confidently say, ‘that’s not how we do things here’.
That’s when a great set of company values come into their own. If you can capture the culture of a company in a few short statements, that brings to life ‘how we do things here’, you’re putting your stake in the ground about what’s ok, and what’s not. It really helps your employees to connect and align themselves to what you do.
The power of leadership
I’ve recently worked with a client whose leadership team are the epitome of their values. We worked together to distil exactly what it was to work within their culture, and throughout the process, you could see how aligned they were as a team. They might have very different approaches individually, but the values that drive them are the same. Launching the values across the whole company was energising. The room was full of nodding heads, agreement and smiles, because these were authentic words that people could really feel.
This client is going through massive growth, which is so exciting, but presents lots of challenges. By taking the time to encapsulate what makes them ‘them’, they are protecting the culture as they grow, making it clear to their teams what they expect and how to succeed within the organisation. It’s refreshing that they’re not leaving it until they start to feel the pain of a segmented culture.
Where are you?
Think about where your company culture is now. Would people know what behaviours are rewarded, how you want them to approach their role, how things are done in your organisation? Do you have a set of values that don’t translate, but just feel like a meaningless list written on the wall?
If you need to get to the authentic heart of your company, Ambient Tribe can help you do just that. We help you cut through the cliché’s and get to the bottom of your culture and how you can develop it in the way you want. For your complimentary consultation, drop us a line. [email protected]