05 May Leaders Create the Culture
Did you know your company has its own “culture”? How your employees interact with customers (and each other), the business systems you have in place, external representations of the company such as your website, how the phone and emails are answered, even signage and clothing – these and other factors collectively represent and define your company culture.
You can nurture and guide your company culture in large part by the leadership you provide. As we all know, leadership does not have to be limited to the names at the top of the organizational chart. Employees at all levels can lead by example, creating a positive environment in which to work.
So, how do you build – and sustain – the positive attributes of your company culture? As the leader of your organization, it’s a process that requires a conscious commitment of your time and energy. Here are four tips to keep in mind.
One of the dictionary definitions of the word “illuminate” is “to make clear.” Step one for leaders is to determine goals and objectives, to set the strategic direction for the business. You need to clearly state where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there. Provide a strategic vision for your employees to follow and then illuminate the way.
Effective communication with your associates and employees is critical. An employee without information can’t take responsibility. However, an employee who has been given information can’t help but take responsibility. Empower employees by clearly communicating your goals and objectives. Provide training so employees understand and follow the best business practices. Keep employees posted on the company’s progress throughout the year. Be open and share relevant information.
Get employees involved in the process by soliciting their comments and feedback. Take suggestions from associates as well as customers for improving business procedures. Establish two-way communication channels so associates and customers feel like they can provide input that will be heard and considered by management.
The basis of a positive company culture is shared values – the things that everyone in the organization agrees are important. The tips listed above can help you create and gain consensus on those values.
Take a moment and reflect on your company’s culture. As the leader of your organization, think about how you can promote the company’s core values in all that you do and say. If you don’t already have a written purpose, mission, vision and values, work with an outside resource and your associates to write them.
As the leader of your company, your role is to provide purpose, meaning and direction. By creating, guiding and encouraging your company’s culture you’ll find that you will be flying high where the view is clear – soaring with the eagles.