It is said that culture is the collective personality of an organisation.
Another definition is this: ‘Culture is what your people do when no one is telling them what to do.’
Culture is the values and behaviours that build and then drive the unique social and psychological environment of a business.
As I have written in previous blogs, it is vital to carefully and thoughtfully choose your workplace culture, for if you don’t, your team will automatically create the culture and will likely suffer a slow and steady erosion of the positive reasons they want to work for you.
One of the components to developing a strong and effective culture involves identifying the values that are important to your practice and important to your team.
To demonstrate how the foundational values and beliefs of your team direct their behaviour, read the following quote by Mahatma Gandhi.
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
Organisations the world over are growing in their appreciation of how important intentional workplace culture is.
What better examples do you want of failed workplace cultures than the cultures operating in Australia’s major financial institutions, as uncovered by the Royal Commission led by Kenneth Hayne Q.C.?
I came across an interview with LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner. He listed the six core values that LinkedIn fosters within their team.
- Our members come first
- Relationships matter
- Be open, honest and constructive
- Demand excellence
- Act like an owner
- Take intelligent risks
Identifying your intentional workplace culture should be a team effort. Gather everyone together and start brainstorming.
Your culture should inspire creativity, drive performance and foster team harmony.
To get you started, here are some questions to discuss with your team.
- What environment encourages the best performance from team members? (What makes us work really hard?)
- What environment gets negative responses from team members? (What makes us resentful, annoyed, frustrated?)
- What do team members want to see more of your practice? (How can we make this practice joyful?)
- What do team members want to see less of in your practice? (What stops this practice from being joyful?)
- What makes us feel taken for granted?
- What behaviours makes us feel:
- What core values does the team wish to adopt to direct their behaviours? Here is a list to get you started:
Dependability Reliability Loyalty
Commitment Open-mindedness Consistency
Honesty Efficiency Innovation
Creativity Good humor Compassion
Spirit of adventure Motivation Positivity
Optimism Passion Respect
Fitness Courage Education
Perseverance Service to others Environmentalism
Crafting your practice culture is just the first step. Getting your team to embrace this culture and ensuring they behave in alignment with it can be a challenge. So make sure you:
1. Talk It Up
Keep it as part of an ongoing discussion. Intend to speak about it daily. It may seem a lot however it doesn’t take long, and the impact this has on the statement’s influence is huge. It will quickly become an easy habit to maintain.
2. Live It
If the owners are not willing to acknowledge, promote and live all practice statements then they cannot expect employees to understand the importance of the process. It must start with setting the example from the top.
3. Acknowledge Others’ Engagement
It is pure gold when others follow your lead and start ‘talking up’ and ‘living’ the company culture. Acknowledge these efforts one-on-one, and also do it publicly. This way you are clearly communicating to all staff “this is how we all should be operating and behaving”.
I promise you that the rewards for crafting your practice culture will far exceed the apparent costs, and the behaviours of your team will then be matching what you have dreamt would be the case!