How to assess your team’s culture and make it what you want

Elizabeth Shassere
Apr 24, 2018 · 3 min read

“It turns out that what actually separates thriving organizations from struggling ones are the difficult-to-measure attitudes, processes and perceptions of the people who do the work.

Culture defeats strategy, every time.”

-Seth Godin

Culture is about how it feels to come in every day and give at least eight hours of your time to your company or to your team. Good, aligned culture boosts productivity; it creates the atmosphere you need for innovation and creativity. A poor or mismatched culture can completely undermine all that you are aiming to achieve.

Get your culture right and your team will have a great reputation that makes people want to work with you. Get the culture wrong, or ignore it altogether, and you can struggle to recruit or retain the people you want with the skills you need. Culture is spread by word of mouth by current employees to prospective talent.

People may not be consciously talking about culture, but it is what they mean when they say things like “we are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them”, or “good informal mentoring happens here”. It creates your reputation as an employer and a leader.

This is why culture defeats strategy, every time. The best business strategy in the world cannot save a team mired in a destructive culture.

Culture may seem a bit nebulous, even impossible to “see” or pin down. But I have created a set of questions both for leaders and for team members that can help you quickly reveal the culture in sharp relief. You will easily begin to see what is good and what needs attention in your team.

The questions to determine your culture and any underlying issues

The culture of a team or company is set by the collective behaviour of individuals. Culture is the sum of the emotional intelligence of the group of people working together and what standards and values they adhere to.

Culture is complex, but once you have identified the core values of your team, it becomes much easier to create the culture you want for your team. This is important because that in turn helps your business achieve what you need it to.

It is worth taking the time and going through these questions or something similar, so that you can be sure your team is working at its best. You will soon see it in your productivity, quality of work life, and ultimately, your bottom line.

You can find all of these questions, and much more to help you create your best team in my book, Becoming a Fearless Leader: A simple guide to taking control and building happy, productive, highly-performing teams. You can find access to a free pdf workbook that guides you through everything that accompanies it on my website.

I write about how I became the founder of a tech startup as a non-techie, over-40 female with no entrepreneurial experience, and all I am learning along the way. You can see more here. If you think this might be helpful for others on their entrepreneurial journey, please recommend and share.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 318,983+ people.

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Elizabeth Shassere

Written by

Author of Becoming a Fearless Leader | Founder and CEO of Textocracy Ltd.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +489K people. Follow to join our community.

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