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To Defend Your Company and Team Culture You Have to Define It

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To Defend Your Company and Team Culture You Have to Define It

You started your business, probably on your own then gathered a small group of like-minded and trusted people around you as you started to grow. Working closely with people, that you know and that know you.

Then it is time to recruit and grow the team again. You need to find a way to capture the essence of what makes your team the success it is. Doing this will make sure that you keep the culture you have created and also limit the damage that can be done to a team culture by introducing very different and conflicting approaches.

The question that needs to be answered is, how can you tell who will be a good ‘style’ fit for the team? Many recruiters and consultants will try to tell you that personality profiling is the answer. It is, once you know the question! How can you assess that a candidate has the ‘target’ personality profile unless you can describe what is needed?

Many Small Business owners dismiss the need to define their culture for two key reasons:

  1. They believe that defining a culture is something that only bigger businesses do (usually those with more than 100 employees).
  2. They do not believe it is possible to clearly describe what their company or business culture is (the myth that culture just exists).

Sadly, the growth and continued success of many growing Small Businesses, has been derailed by the lack of defined culture. Company culture or ‘the way we do things around here’ is an essential ingredient to success and must be put on the agenda of business priorities.

How would you define a culture?

It’s finding ways to describe ‘the way things are done around here’, using as many observable and repeatable elements as possible:

  • What actions would someone take when receiving a customer complaint?
  • What phrases and tone of voice are used when resolving a problem?
  • When team members talk about the workplace, what do they say?
  • What systems are in place to support and encourage desired behaviours (and discourage undesired behaviours)?

A company culture is about the way that people interact with each other and with customers and suppliers. A culture can be described in terms of behaviours. Defining the behaviours that make your company culture is equally important as defining the behaviours that are not accepted by your company culture.

If you are struggling with how to define your company culture, these prompters will help:

  1. Think of the interactions and experiences that customers and staff have that ‘make’ the business successful.
  2. Take mental note (or observe it in action) of what people:
  • Do – Using systems or processes.
  • Say – Tone of voice.
  • Display – Facial expression, body language.
  1. Think about what you do not want to have happen in terms of what people, ‘Do, Say and Display’.
  2. Review your systems and documentation and actions of you and your core team. Do they reinforce what you noted in the first two prompters?

Too many businesses hire on skill and face problems around ‘fit’. That is why culture is so important. As your business starts to grow and you cannot be side by side with every person every minute of every day, then you need to get very clear on what your company culture is.

You cannot defend what you cannot define.

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