For Long-term Success, Focus on Culture

cultureHave you ever observed a company whose success has occurred over a long period of time?

Chances are it has a great culture.

The long-term success of a business has more to do with the culture than anything else so if I am a leader, culture must be one of my highest priorities.

Merriam Webster defines culture as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.”

Examples include: How people are appreciated, do we celebrate success, are we honest in our dealings with others, do we respect people, do we hold people accountable, etc.

Culture is primarily the responsibility of the CEO as the Chief Culture Officer, but every leader and manager is responsible for living out the company’s vision, mission and values if we are to propagate the desired culture.

Even our team of people on the front line can hold each other accountable for living out the why and what of the company.

Here are some ideas on how we can create and sustain the culture we want in our companies:

Be Intentional

We need to create the culture on purpose. With a purposeful intention, we have an opportunity to create the culture we want and without being intentional our organization’s culture will stagnate.

Be Clear on Who Our Organization Is

Make sure we clearly state our vision, mission and values. Continually reiterate who we are and what we stand for. Let it be known what will and will not be tolerated.

Communicate and over communicate the vision, mission, and values so the people have an opportunity to know what to do and how to accomplish it.

Nurture the Culture

Take time to review your organization as a leader at least once/quarter when you do a quarterly review of your business. Then, ask your leadership team how well we are living out our vision, mission and values.

Talk about the culture and how your team of people are living out the vision, mission and values throughout the organization.

Stay Connected

Leaders need to stay connected to their people so their teams can see them walk the talk. During the MBWA time, we must talk about the business and what we stand for as well as where we are headed and what their role of contribution is.

Only through connectivity to our people will we truly know the pulse of the culture.

Recognize People

We must recognize those people who are living out the vision, mission and values of the business. Find the time to recognize people at every opportunity: Meetings, social gatherings, company intranet sites, and emails.

Recognition is the fuel of reinforcement that leads to continued action in the direction desired.

Culture is probably the single most important element in determining the long-term success of a business. What actions do you or your company take to create, develop and maintain the culture desired?