Every company has a culture. Most of the time it simply evolves over time. That is to say, it is a default culture. If you are lucky, that default culture will be the one you want, or at least can live with.
A much better strategy is to determine the culture you want and then take specific steps to make it a reality.
But I imagine that you, like any business owner, know it is much easier said than done. How do you get great outcomes and results while also creating an environment people actually want to work in?
Create an environment for success
This is one of the three vital skills every business owner, manager and entrepreneur must master.
If you closely examine the culture of the most successful companies on the planet, you will find they all have a winning or success oriented culture. While the culture at say, Zappos is dramatically different from, for example, Virgin Air, I have found several common elements.
Here are a few facets common to a winning culture that you too can use to motivate your team to succeed—today, and hopefully, for years to come:
Empower your employees
A bit earlier I mentioned outcomes and results.
Whatever outcomes or results you end up with, your employees produced them.
So, make the decision to be very clear about the results you expect and let go of the need to insist everyone does things the same way.
Don’t worry about getting things done right. Instead, embrace getting the right things done.
For example, I know of a company that allows unlimited vacation time, personal days and sick days. Yep, I actually said unlimited.
As long as all of the work any of their employee is responsible for is completed or accounted for, they are free to take as much time off as they want! This policy has been in place since day one, and remains one of the benefits potential employees get most pumped up about.
Whatever specific “freedom” oriented policies your company decides on, the bottom line is that you need to empower your employees to own their results.
And, if they produce them, let them determine how.
Employ authentic accountability
High-powered teams are much more effective than individuals working alone, no matter how talented each of your individual employees are. This applies to you as well.
Empowered employees who are used to producing results are already highly accountable.
The concept of authentic accountability you want to have in your company is two sided.
First, you expect everyone to give their word and keep it.
And, perhaps even more importantly, you need everyone else to execute their responsibilities knowing everyone else will be keeping their word and hitting their goals.
Focus on core values
I have seen clear evidence that core values provide the foundation for a culture of success.
You don’t need or want a long list of these basic principles, but you must spend the time to establish rock solid values. They act as a filter through which all decisions should be channeled.
Whenever anyone wonders about what to do in a tough situation, they simply use the core values as their guide.
Of course you should hire skillful people. However, hiring people who share your company’s core values is much more important. You can teach someone how to do the work, but it is nearly impossible to change core values.
Hire and develop people with an “owners mentality”
Every employee must have a true sense of ownership with respect to their area of responsibility.
Make a serious effort to establish an incentive compensation plan or an employee ownership arrangement that will not just attract great people, but inspire them to have an attitude of ownership that has both risk and reward.
Model the culture
It is essential that you are the best example of the culture you are building.
Everyone will look to you and at you to see how you are behaving.
If you represent the core values, can be counted on, are not a workaholic, and produce results, your team will emulate that behavior.
As I said at the outset, while the super-successful companies have different overall cultures, you can bet they share these five elements
Decide right now to put them in place in your organization.