We’ve all been asked this question and we’ve felt the pressure to come up with a really inspiring answer, one that our friends and family admire, respect, and appreciate. Once we’ve landed on the answer, we set off on the road to success with high hopes of being the next…fill in the blank.
However, as life would have it, that dang road to success has twists, u-turns, off ramps and potholes. I’m sure for some lucky souls, it’s a straight shot to the destination. God bless y’all and please teach me your ways! Regardless of the difficulties, we forge on with our eye on the prize and along the way we learn, grow, and try to live our best life!
Creating and nurturing a company culture is no different. You first have to decide “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Whether you’re a startup or a well-established company, it’s important that you have clearly defined the kind of culture you want. Otherwise, how will you know if you’re on the right path?
Many times, companies don’t pause long enough to think about their culture strategy, so they just allow it to kind of happen. You hope that every single person on your team has the same vision and leadership style and that it will naturally come together. However, in most cases, that’s probably not likely.
So instead of leaving culture to chance, take a minute (in fact, take a lot of minutes) and gather the right people in the room, then have a candid conversation about what you want your company to be when it grows up? It’s okay that your culture is not perfect. No company culture is perfect, but we can all continue to improve. You just have to know what improvement looks like.
To start ask these questions:
- What do you want your company to stand for?
- When employees, franchisees, customers, supplier partners talk about you, what words or phrases do you want them to use to describe the interactions with your company? I’m not talking about the dumb, fluffy words people put on vision and mission posters. I’m talking about real words. The kind you use when you’re passionate about telling someone about a friend you think is awesome! Use those words.
- What kind of personality do you want your brand to have?
- How do you want your employee culture to show up in your customer culture? (P.S. When you do it right, customers notice, and their loyalty grows.)
- How will your company culture show up for your suppliers, your franchisees and your community partners?
- What has to happen to make the culture a reality?
- How do your leadership behaviors need to change to bring it to life?
- What systems and processes need to be put in place to begin constructing it?
Doing this exercise will help get you started and get you on the right road to creating the brand you want to be. And hey, if you hit a few potholes, need to take an off-ramp or make a few u-turns, it’s okay. Buy some Twizzlers, some beef jerky or your other favorite road trip food and keep going because the destination is totally worth it and you’ll be rewarded with some really cool performance!