Creating Company Culture
I wonder if everyone could look back in their lives to a time when they were in such harmony with the people around them that they accomplished amazing things and experienced a time of unparalleled productivity. I have had times like this in my life. Times when the people, emotions, drives, and desires seemed to unite us and create an atmosphere of encouragement and motivation. It was satisfying just being with them. I have met individuals like this as well. People that you just love to be with. Men and women who just bring the best out of you and somehow make the worst disappear.

What is it that creates these types of environments - crackling with purpose and energy? Spurring people on and filling them with determination. When I consider the great figures in the corporate world, history, or any other area of study, what pops out at me as a key ingredient is the amazing cultures that surrounded these great men and women. When I say culture here though, I don't mean the culture of the society of that time and area. What I mean is the personal cultures of these people. The way they shared their ideas and listened to others ideas. What forums were given and how they were conducted. What principles were taught and demonstrated. How were people held accountable and encouraged? How were they disciplined, mentored, and molded? All of these and more create or make up one's personal culture.

In the end though your personal culture is just that - your personal culture. For the average person it usually doesn't extend beyond their own person. However in certain instances like the ones I was speaking of earlier, something happens. Somehow a team culture is created and shared and like a spark it ignites a roaring fire. Somehow personal culture makes the leap to team culture and becomes something else entirely. Often we read about it. Many times I will pickup a business magazine and read about an amazing business that is experiencing amazing growth and productivity and the company culture will be one of the components that the executives and employee's will credit. Even sports teams will talk at length about the importance of team culture to the success of their team's winning record.

Obviously, a great atmosphere and positive work environment is something that every company wants to have, but I wonder how many give thought to their company's culture? I believe many executives simply gloss over it or just think that the culture of their company is good enough or that it is out of their control completely. It just is what it is. Which brings me to the question - Is culture creatable? Is it moldable? Directable? If you have bad company culture, can you change it? How did it get bad in the first place?

I have considered these questions many times throughout my career so far. In my mind I have always felt the answer was yes. Yes you can create culture. You can create good or bad. But knowing the answer or feeling it in this case still doesn't reveal the how's and why's. However, over time and by some experimentation I believe I have found some key items in the creation of company culture. I am sure there are more to be discovered and many more that only further experience will reveal. However over the next articles I hope to consolidate some of my experiences and lessons I have learned and hopefully they will be of some help and enlightenment. For now, here some key points in creating company culture.

Key Points In Creating Company Culture:

  • First you must acknowledge the importance of company culture. Your culture controls the environment, atmosphere, and moral of the company.
  • Next, begin to learn your people - in a genuine way. Who are they? What do they like? What motivates them? What are their hobbies? Don't be superficial in this process. This isn't about filling out an information sheet about them to put in their file.
  • Third, create vision. What is your company about? What are your principles? What are the things that you celebrate? What are the things you hate? Who are you a champion for? What do you fight for? People need something to believe in. Ultimately they want to know that what they do makes a difference.
  • Forth - Feed your people. Simply telling them what your company values are and getting everyone pointed in the right direction isn't enough. You need to fuel them. This comes in the form of meetings where your can read to them from a book about customer services or some important topic that supports your established values and principles. Tell them a story about how the company saved the day for one of it's customers. Read letters from customers or comments and praise. Create heroes and villains. Spur them on and encourage them. Show them that the company is progressing.
  • Fifth - Spend the time yourself. You can't fill your people with something you don't have. Invest in yourself. Read books, write customer stories, encourage people. Establish company values and principles in written form and make sure at least every executive and manager knows them. Right a mission statement and values statement. If you can't say what you believe in and what your mission is then what do you expect?
  • Finally - Be accountable. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will this. Culture is built over time and you must work on it every day. Don’t let it slip and soon it will be… part of your culture! Get back up when you slip and stop. Put a reminder in your calendar to review this every quarter. Have someone check on you.

Obviously, there is much more to creating an outstanding company culture, but I believe most of it falls under these points. Culture is so important. You can have all the right people, but without the right culture your company is doomed to mediocrity or worse - a hollow success with no meaning or fulfillment.

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Josh Cochran, RCDD

President of Diverse CTI, Josh has over 10 years of experience in telecommunications and IT services. An expert in the industry he is a Registered Communications Distribution Designer, a certification he has held with BICSI since 2004. Josh consults various national companies and speaks at several national events and conferences. Find out more about Josh.


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