It used to drive me crazy to see people talking about other things at work, says Jay Steinfeld, founder and CEO of Houston-based Blinds.com. Now, I'm glad they're doing it. People need an opportunity to blow off steam and feel like they are not being watched. You can't be paranoid and creative at the same time; it's impossible. And you're not going to get the most out of people if you tell them to sit down, stop talking, and work. Maybe it works in prison.
Keep charity and community service at the forefront. It's not something you do just for publicity and obligation. It trains people's minds to think about improving other people's lives. They’re going to improve customers' lives, co-workers' lives, and their own lives.
Years ago, I would ream out people when they failed, says Steinfeld. Now I tell them, "Hey, it didn't work, but I'm pleased you gave it a shot." And I say it in front of others. I want people to experiment without fear of failure.
Company culture is up to the CEO. It has to come from you. Nothing happens if the top doesn’t agree or even personally care about it. But don't make it about yourself; make it about the company.