When it comes to company culture, many business owners, particularly ones that haven't been in business for very long, will dismiss it as a big company issue. You might hear terms like "we are all family here," as if to dismiss the idea that your company and those that you employ have an unspoken hand that guides their decisions when you aren't around. But whether you believe it or not, your company has a culture. And it's up to you to help shape that culture into one that will not only benefit your team members but also the growth and development of your business as a whole.
What Company Culture Consists Of
Before I talk about how to build your company culture, it's important to get clear on what company culture really is. Your culture is shown by the questions that people ask or don't ask, the way you behave or don't behave. Maybe you have a history of always being too nice when it comes to having difficult conversations. Maybe you are really good at doing what you say you will. Maybe you have a history of treating new team members with a bit of a cold shoulder until they prove their worth. Maybe your team is amazing at celebrating victories within the company. Whatever it is, good or bad, it is part of what makes your business succeed (or fail).
A Thousand Taps
Company cultures aren't built overnight. It's not something you can just write up in your employee handbook and expect everyone to adopt. Culture is built by the slow accumulation of little behaviors, events, and stories -- taps of the hammer, if you will. What taps would make a difference in your own business? Do you share stories of success and failure to learn together as a team? Do you guide by example? Do you celebrate victories? Do you empower team members to own their success? Do you coach employees for growth? Whatever it is that you think will make a difference in your company over time, write it down. And think of ways that you can do little taps each and every day. Because over time, those taps make a difference. Now take it a step further. What if your management team did the same? Suddenly your little taps, plus those of your executive team, start to compound into something much bigger.
Make It a Habit
The biggest indicator of success when it comes to creating and shaping a company culture comes down to habit. We are all busy and we have a thousand things on our plate. It is super easy to come up with a list of ideas that we think are important to our culture, but a much bigger thing to make it a habit to work on it every single day. If you have to, put it on your to-do list. Set a reminder on your phone. Create a spreadsheet or journal that you write in daily. And commit to it. After a month, it will become a habit. After a year, you won't remember a time where you didn't do the daily or weekly taps of the hammer -- and that is where the magic happens.