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One Practical Way to Upgrade Company Culture

For one day out of every month, don't focus on planning or executing anything. Focus on this instead.

Illustrious management expert, Peter Drucker, has been quoted more than a few times that "culture eats strategy for breakfast." While he didn't evangelize that strategy was insignificant or that it completely trumped company culture, he did believe that without a well-defined company culture, even the best-made strategic plans would be difficult to execute.

In order to enlist an army of loyalists to execute your strategy and be your brand ambassadors, you need an inspired company culture. But where do you begin?

Here's a simple idea.

Two years ago, our leadership team at Lamp Post Group set out to improve three things in our company: celebrating what's going right, improving communication, and connecting the people and the moving parts that make us great.

To those ends, we host an event that we call Feature Friday. Think of it as an adult pep rally. It's an important time that we carve out of the last Friday of every month in order to feature the best things about who we are and what we're doing.

We've covered everything from indoor Olympics to barbecues to ugly Christmas sweater contests. And while the games may change, there are a few constants that always make this time special.

Here are some ideas to kick off your own Feature Friday.

Serve food. It gives people a reason to socialize.

Some people need a reason to stop working. To lure people away from their desks, serve food. When food is sitting out buffet style, it's in our human DNA to gather around it. It costs very little to throw a party, but returns dividends on increasing communication and boosting morale. Throw in some booze and you're golden.

Be as transparent as possible.

Transparency in a company can take on many forms. While we don't spill the beans on individual salaries, we do talk about the financial health of the company. And the leadership team has been known to share a crazy idea or two in order to ignite the buy-in process. The fine line here is to be transparent without creating unnecessary anxiety.

Recognize the winners.

One of my favorite parts of Feature Friday is honoring the effort of a select few people. We praise their results, but also their attitude and how they live up to our guiding values. But be careful about who you make heroes; others will emulate their behavior. So make sure their behaviors are ones you really like.

We give away two awards every month. Someone gets an ugly doll for taking an ugly situation and making it better. That award seems to rotate through the IT department. Go figure. The other award is for the person that goes beyond what's asked of them. They are the rock stars.

Celebrate your victories.

When you're tasked with problem-solving all day long, it can be difficult to recircuit the brain in order to celebrate what's going right. That's what Feature Friday is for.

Psychologists and coaches know that sustaining any behavior for a long period of time involves three things: preparation, execution, and acknowledgment. In business, we're really good at planning and acting, but we're not as good at acknowledging the successes. We're usually on to the next thing.

Feature Friday is an intentional time set aside to do that. It sets a tone throughout the company that stopping the work to acknowledge the work is an important part of running a business. It refuels you and your people to sustain the long journey of building a legendary business.

I hope you'll try Feature Friday--or some version of it. If you do, let me know how it goes.

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