Innovative products and services, a great marketing strategy, room for growth and deep pockets for investment are all great factors that can contribute greatly to the success and bottom line of a small business. However, when it comes to managing your small business, one of the most important attributes to establish from day one is a positive, productive and principled company culture. A company’s culture should define and determine every decision that you make within the business, from big picture goals to everyday minutiae. Establishing a strong company culture will create a trickle-down effect, where every employee takes his or her cue from the founder or owner – in this case, you – and adheres to the principles and foundational bedrocks that you have subscribed to.
“Keep in mind, that within all companies, there is already a culture,” David Vik, found and CEO of The Culture King, told Inc. Magazine. “But it may not be what is wanted, and many times, the culture is created by default.”
Vik and other culture coaches have insisted that such organically formed cultures will fall short in empowering employees and will serve more as rules and regulations than principles. Instead of simply going with the flow and accepting whatever cultural makeups find their way into your small business, consider being proactive and seizing the opportunity to dramatically transform your company’s culture from top to bottom. Here are some tips on how to change your company’s culture and what types of principles you should be adhering to.
The purpose-driven life
According to the news source, everyone needs a purpose in their lives, not least of all companies and their employees. To this end, eliminate “profits at all cost” as your company’s sole purpose. While increasing profits and bottom lines is a necessary component of doing business, it should not be the be-all and end-all of starting a company. Give your employees a compelling reason to come to work every day and strive toward your stated purpose. This could be anything from philanthropic and long-lasting benefits and changes for the world at large, or something as small as innovating an industry-specific item.
Which brings us to the next cultural principle that your company should consider – innovation. Forbes Magazine recommends visibly championing a portfolio approach to innovation that emanates from dreams, not desperation. On this note, one principle that companies should eschew is that necessity is the mother of invention. Instead, encourage your employees to always be thinking creatively and outside the box in pursuit of new solutions. Sell your workers on the power of creativity and ambition and assure them that their dreams will always remain unbridled at your company.
A culture of discipline
Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great: Why some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t,” noted that every organization that has achieved some measure of greatness first insisted on a foundational culture built on discipline. Discipline doesn’t necessarily mean a strict and restricted workplace governed from an iron throne and ruled with an iron fist. However, creating a working atmosphere that promotes discipline and accountability instead of simply getting things done willy-nilly could have tremendous positive externalities down the road. When employees become conditioned to be disciplined workers, they rarely present headaches for their managers. However, be wary or being perceived of as a tyrant. At the same time, an undisciplined culture could cause your company to be seen as an asylum being run by inmates. Finding the balance between discipline and oppression is the trick for small business owners.
Communication is key
One of the most commonly found attributes among successful companies is the priority they place on open communication. Good managers often relay to their workers that their doors are always open for anyone, regardless of title, to come in and have a chat. According to Fast Company Magazine, it is imperative for managers to create a trickle-down effect of open communication by being openly communicative themselves. Welcome any employees to come in to your office with suggestions, complaints or even just how-do-you-do’s. When walking around the office, greet each worker with a friendly and personable attitude. Take the time to get to know each of your employees to establish a relationship built on two-way communication and open engagement.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Finally, allow your employees to enjoy the rewards of their hard work. A company that works hard and plays hard is more likely to have happier employees. When your workers can look forward to coming to work, half the battle has already been won.
What are some aspects of your company’s culture that have made a positive difference?