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5 Steps to Creating a Great Company Culture

Unhappy employees? Customers not returning? You can change all of that in five simple steps.
The Zappos office in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Quick, what's the first company that comes to mind when you think "great company culture?"

For me it's Zappos. Driven by ten core values which define their culture, brand, and business strategies, Zappos employees enjoy free lunches, no-charge vending machines, a company library, a nap room, and free health care. And with an astounding 75% of their customers coming back for more, Zappos is one of the best examples of a loyalty business model and relationship marketing system that works.

What can a small business owner learn from the Zappos company culture model? A lot. If you want to build a company that attracts and retains loyal employees and customers, creating your own unique culture needs to be a top priority.

Dr. David "Doc" Vik is the founder and CEO of The Culture King and was the coach at Zappos where he helped drive the company culture. "Keep in mind, that within all companies, there is already a culture," says Vik. "But it may not be what is wanted, and many times, the culture is created by default." If you want to create your own unique culture that will help empower your employees and drive your company to success, transforming the culture you already have is a great place to start.

Vic's latest book, The Culture Secret: How to Empower People and Companies No Matter What You Sell, is scheduled for release on February 5. Here is a sneak peek at Vic's five steps to creating an unstoppable company culture.

1. Create a compelling vision.

Within all companies, groups of people need to know "what" they are doing or delivering. Once they do all thoughts, decisions and actions can be aligned to it. This will help in creation and re-invention and is a guiding light or "North Star" to follow and guide everyone connected to your company.

Do your best to make your vision short, memorable and repeatable. Long or confusing paragraphs cannot guide thoughts, decisions or actions of the employees, mostly because they can't remember or repeat it.

2. Determine your purpose. 

Everyone needs a purpose in their lives; this is just as true in businesses. The purpose is the "why" you are doing what you are doing. If your company's purpose is only about making money, employees won't stand behind it for long. If the purpose is compelling and gives them a great reason to work at your company, it will attract passionate employees who want to fulfill your company's purpose.

If you create a purpose that is a benefit to humankind, not just your company, you will not only attract employees, but retain them as well, which will produce the same affect with your customers.

3. Align your business model.

Take a good, long look at your business model. Is it in alignment with the wants, needs and demands of the customer? Is it aligned with all the possibilities and opportunities that the Information Age has to offer?

If your company's business model is deeply entrenched in hard up-selling and long contracts or you don't treat the customer like they matter, you may want to make changes to align with the wants, needs and demands of the customer. People now have a choice and a voice, and companies must evolve or dissolve.

4.  Create unique/WOW factors.

Unique/WOW factors for your company may be the single most important thing in business today. Why should anyone want to work with or buy from your company? What is unique or WOW about it? Does what you sell or deliver, stand out from the rest?

Having a unique/WOW factor should not only be for what you sell, but how you deliver it. This is especially true for a commodity or a service, as in those cases what you sell may not be that unique in the first place. Be different! If everyone is building fences, dig a tunnel!

5.  Clarify your values.

Values let the outside world know what you are all about. To come up with your company's values it makes sense to get everyone's input, as they will need to embody them and live by them. Take a good look around inside your company and see what the current values are. If they are not what you desire, create values that will guide the people and the company toward success.

For example, if your company isn't the best at getting right back to people you wouldn't want to state a value as "we communicate when convenient".  You may want to create a value like, "timely communication". That value would attract those that expect timely communication and over time, it will become self-managing, while helping your employees and company to reach their full potential.

You can have any number of values, it's up to you, but keep in mind that your values will direct the way you do things in the future, so choose wisely.

Take some time and create these five key structures to frame your own unique culture, aligned with the wants, needs and demands of the employees and customers and the Information Age. Once the structure is set, allow the people in your organization to create it. Your culture will then be the blueprint of "What", "Why" and "How" you do things--now, and long into the future, helping your employees and company to reach its full potential.

Learn more: Join Marla as she interviews Dr. Vic on her internet radio show, The Million Dollar Mindset. Listen live on December 10 at 2 pm ET or download the interview later!

 

IMAGE: vissago/Flickr
Last updated: Dec 10, 2012

MARLA TABAKA

Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.




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