Culture is one of the most misunderstood aspects of a business, yet few things have as much potential for ROI.
What is culture?
Have you ever worked in retail? Perhaps the food industry? If so, you have my utmost empathy. Culture within an organization is on center stage with those who directly interact with the customer. However, if you’ve worked any job that requires you to deal with people, be it internally (coworkers) or externally (customers), you’ve experienced that organizations culture. Many people will try to look at certain actions and claim that those actions create the organizations culture – and they’re only half wrong.
It is true, actions are connected to an organizations culture. However, they are connected because actions reveal culture.Therefore, culture is less a set of actions employees take, and more a set of beliefs and values an organization upholds.
I’m a hands-on learner, Gabriel. I need examples.
Fantastic! That makes the little nerd-inside-me so excited! Let’s look at Coca Cola: they’re values include leadership, collaboration, and accountability among other things. Each employee in every aspect of the company is expected to live up to these values.
When looking at Southwest Airlines, we see they have built a culture around having a fun-loving attitude (be a passionate team player, celebrate your success as well as others, enjoy what you do), and having a warrior spirit (through diligence, innovation, and a sense of urgency).
Interesting enough. So, how do I discover my culture?
The answer is simpler then you may think and comes in three parts. First, ask yourself, “What do I personally value?” Is it honesty? Efficiency? Integrity? Results? Reliability? Write down whatever answers you think of.
Second, think about past companies you’ve worked for, and ask yourself, “What did I love about that company?” Was it the camaraderie between employees? The benefits offered (how the company treated their employees)? Write down whatever comes to mind.
Finally, remember that this is your company. You started it for a reason. What is that reason? Why did you decide to build this company in the first place? Are you passionate about this company? If so, what aspects are you passionate about, and why? Write all this shit down.
Now, pick whichever values on that list that resonate with your heart (or we can call it your gut, whichever you prefer). There you have it! THOSE are your values, and THAT is your culture.