What makes a great culture?
That’s a big question that many organisations and teams grapple with — the elusive “culture” of an organisation.
It’s the style — the way things are done by a group of people.
Cultures that work where organisations and people thrive are inclusive, less hierarchical, and much more open.
Great culture relies on collaboration, genuine support and caring between peers, rather than competition internally. Strong high-performing teams have a genuine commitment to excellence in all they achieve.
The team or organisation has a strong clear identity, which works in their favour. It’s like a family.
Great culture also requires great leadership, which I’ll cover in the next article.
Right now, what actionable steps can organisations or teams take to create the right culture?
Listen. Listen to your co-founders, employees, suppliers and customers — if you can keep these stakeholder groups happy, your ahead on the road to success. What matters to people in your organisation?
Know your company values. Get really clear on these — what is the feeling your company creates for others? Great employee engagement comes fro how your employees feel, every time they answer the phone or act on your behalf. It also makes it easier to signal one set of values to the market place. And make sure these values are well understood in the marketplace.
One CEO I worked with introduced the value of “Heart” — some employees puzzled over it, but most got it — it was about courage, compassion, and being wholeheartedly committed to the service we provided.
Recruit well, ensuring diversity. Know what you are recruiting for, and if it’s not working, don’t be afraid of the honest conversation which will benefit you and the employee — make expectations clear, support staff, and most people are happy to get on board if they understand what’s needed — they just need clear leadership.
Ban the Appraisal. Finally — and this is the controversial one — ditch the Annual Performance Review (Appraisal Process) — your managers and supervisors should be having much more regular conversations with staff. Every conversation is a learning opportunity, an opportunity for good quality feedback both ways and fosters better communication. An artificial process for the purpose of ticking boxes helps nobody — would you want to wait a year to do better?