You cannot build a great business without a team. And you can’t build a high performance team without a great team culture. Like branding, company culture is another misunderstood and undervalued success factor in business.
As soon as you start employing people you have a need for a great culture. Again, the biggest and best companies in the world build strong cultures – people know what to expect when they work there. An example of strong brand with a strong culture is Virgin. Everyone knows what Virgin stands for – a fair deal for the everyday person, whether its music, planes or finance. And you can imagine what the culture is like – full of enthusiastic people who thrive on the optimism of the founder. Richard Branson is still a figurehead but his offices all around the world don’t rely on hi to be there to keep the same team culture.
Key number 7. Build a strong team culture
Team culture is made up of these key elements:
- Vision… what does the company aspire to and where is it going, what is it’s purpose?
- Values – how does it behave and what does it believe to be right?
- Personality – is it a fun place, a serious place, an earnest place?
- Rituals – what are the things your company does that people can rely on – regular meetings each week, celebration of birthdays, rewards, social outings… just like in families, it’s the rituals that tie the people together.
You need to set the team culture before you start hiring. Be a great employer, have a warm, embracing world for new people to come into – where they are clear where they stand and how they fit.
Be sure of your vision and your culture before you start hiring… that way you can hire the right people to fit your culture, not just people who can do your job.
Exercise: Team culture brainstorm
Grab that pad of blank paper again. Divide it into quarters with a pen. Write Team Culture in the middle of the quarter lines. Then give each quarter a heading: Vision/Values/Personality/Rituals.
Under each heading brainstorm your ideas on that topic (do this with your business partners/team if you have them). Don’t worry about getting it right, just brainstorm. Then when you’ve exhausted all ideas, go back and circle your favourites.
Vision – what is the company doing that will make a difference in the future? What’s the purpose that drives your business?
Values – what underpins the integrity of your business, what cornerstone values enable the purpose? For example, the vision for Liber8 is ‘to set all small business owners free.’ The values are inspiration, motivation, education and liberation. The values underpin the vision.
Personality – who are you? How do your people behave? Are you youthful, fun, exuberant? Are you trustworthy, innovative yet dependable? Your company personality should align with your customer needs. A large accountant firm will want to be innovative, providing leading edge solutions, yet they must also be dependable, trustworthy and sincere. An online dating company will want a personality that is warm, caring, modern and sincere.
Rituals – these create the expectations for your team that enable them connect with all of the above. The rituals are the things your company does consistently that enable your team to come together and feel a sense of belonging. Examples of the rituals I had at my advertising agency are: Monday morning work in progress, 8.30am with muffins and coffee; Friday evening drinks and celebrations of wins, 5pm with drinks; morning tea when it’s someone’s birthday, a paid day off as a birthday present (to be used within 8 weeks of your birthday); champagne when we won new business…. You get the idea. People knew we cared by the way we made them feel valued.. all done by having rituals that contributed to the culture.
As usual, feel free to email me with questions and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org
PS. Early bird pricing for 2016 Acceler8or Programme ends soon. This is a 12 month journey to accelerated growth you’ll never forget, please email me at email@example.com for more information. If you are serious about growth or creating financial freedom from your business sooner rather than later, you will want to be involved. Only 4 places left.