What do you mean by culture? I hear so much talk about the impact and importance of culture in our businesses, but what do we really mean when we talk about culture? I define culture as specific behavior by specific people in specific situations that helps create a community that collectively communicates the mission and purpose of the business. This is something that we all want to create and cultivate in our businesses, but how do we go about doing this?
These are 5 steps that can help create the culture you desire in your business.
- Culture comes from the top down– It is up to you, as the owner ,to create the culture in your business. You are responsible for everything that is right and wrong in your business. You have to cultivate your skills as a leader and lead from the front not the back. You have to model the behavior that you want displayed in your business. Culture sticks when it’s genuine and authentic, clients , employees, managers see thru fake values. It is important that as you grow your business you leave clues, by modeling behavior of how things need to be done with your clients and employees and continue to reinforce these behaviors with your staff and clients as the business grows.
- Culture is specific behaviors in specific situations– Be clear with clients and employees of what actions and expectations are desired in specific situations. What is the procedure when you answer the phone, how a client is greeted when they come in, how a training session is conducted, how to close the gym. All of these actions, expectations and procedures pieced together create and reinforce the culture of your business.
- Culture needs a script– You can’t , nor should you, do all things in your business at all times. You will need help. Learn to count on your employees. Part of being a good leader is giving them the resources they need to succeed. By giving them a script to follow on specific procedures in specific situations this gives them a valuable tool to help them build the culture you desire in your business. This helps create clear expectations and goals. You have to accept the fact that they will make mistakes and may not do it as well as you and resist the urge to take over. Be patient and train them and reinforce wins that they make along the way. This is a critical step in helping you cultivate your culture and grow your business.
- Culture needs constant reinforcement– Once you have clear expectations and goals for specific behaviors in specific situations in place it’s not something your set it and forget it. It will need constant reinforcement every shift, every day. People like to reset to their default, follow the path of least resistance. You have to continuously model and reinforce the standards you want until this becomes the default for their behavior, until this becomes the new normal behavior for your employees and clients.
- Culture erodes if it’s not prevented from do so– All of us need a come to Jesus meeting every once in a while. Even after the message has gotten thru and sunk in it’s only natural that it fades with time. So, we need to give it a little wake up call, cold water in the face moment to revive the importance and impact that these behaviors and expectations create in our business. If you don’t do this periodically you will see your culture you worked so hard to create start to fade and you end. This may result in a member or staff member leaving over an issue resulting from culture erosion. It works best when you build these resets into your business
I agree that culture is important, some would say it’s everything, but great culture doesn’t happen by accident. Make sure you are intentionally acting with purpose to build the culture that will make your business successful