After putting all your strategies, business plans, financials, licenses, P&L statement, balance sheet and everything pertaining to the smooth functioning of your business in place, you are left thinking – ‘What else do I need to create a paramount shift in the way things are?’ The answer lies in what cannot be seen, the intangible aspect of your organization – The culture of your organization.
Culture is the personality of an organization. It is difficult to express distinctly, but everyone knows it when they sense it. It’s the essence of how people form and communicate ideas, how they behave, how they respond to customers, how they bring themselves to work.
They say, culture can make or break an organization. The weight carried by this sentence must be ingrained in every new entrepreneurs head which in turn will lead to them laying strong foundations for their business. Company’s culture can have a powerful impact on the company’s performance as it binds the employees together as a team.
Because of the peculiar attributes of culture, it gets really difficult to crack this tough bean. Here are a few ways in which you can ensure the culture in your organization is intact and well taken care of –
- Define Core Values
When you think of your organization as an empire, what words come to your mind? What are somethings you and all your team members will stand for, no matter what? This comprises your core values, the non-negotiables. Every core value can be broken down into actions which you and your team members will exhibit. It is important for every team-member to walk and talk the same language when it comes to core values. Starting a business is relatively simple. It is growing and staying true to your values that’s the difficult part.
- Regular Team/Circle time
As entrepreneurs, your plate is always full. You are always on a firefighting mode. Hence it is of utmost importance to get your team together regularly. Allow them to share their stories, their struggles. Celebrate their successes, do 360 degree feedback sessions to build transparency and trust within the team, regularly conduct team building activities and don’t forget to debrief the same. Make your team feel like they are heard and cared for. Founders play a key role in establishing a culture of open, honest and direct communication. A startup sees successes and failures. It is the culture of the startup that will inform actions for commitment towards success.
- Role modelling
As the founder/CEO of your startup, you must lead by example. This is extremely important because thoughts and mindsets percolate down to the entire team in no time. Culture is acquired and not taught. If you walk and talk the core values as mentioned below, your team will follow.
- Vision-Action alignment
You all have a vision, the northstar which guides you through your startup journey. Make sure you get all your team members on board to ensure the culture is strengthened. There must be a direct correlation between the vision and the activities undertaken by everyone on the team. As long as your team is rooted in the vision, you won’t lose your path. Teammates must be invested in the vision to continue work with the highest amount of conviction. This also infuses team spirit in the organization as everyone is working towards a single vision and the culture holds everyone together in such scenarios.
- Customer engagement
While this is external to your organization, it is a great opportunity for the world to get acquainted with the culture of your organization and invite goodness from your customers. Regular channels of communication with customers to build engagement talks volumes about your culture. It reflects the ethos on which your organization runs. If customer engagement is proactive as opposed to being reactive, there will be a lot of value add to your organization in various aspects such as brand name.
It is pertinent to prioritize culture. You may want to consider creating a document defining the culture statements of your startup. It must be noted that to be sustainable, culture has to be intentional!