We’ve all heard it before “create your company’s culture, or it will create itself, ” and unless you have the world’s most perfect employees, you aren’t likely to be very happy with those results. So what are some ways to intentionally create the kind of culture or working environment that aligns with your company’s values and goals? We have some first steps for you to try to get going.
- Regular & Structured Team Meetings
How often is your team meeting together to talk about strategy, the coming week, progress on the goals of the business? If the answer is “never,” “not often,” or “I don’t remember” then a great first step is getting regular team meetings on your calendar, and then actually going to the meetings. A great time for a weekly team meeting is early Monday morning. It allows you to set the tone for the week, share your focus and goals for the week, and hear any issues or questions that might stand in the way of a productive week, right from the start. Make sure that these meetings are structured and productive so that your team doesn’t feel like they are wasting valuable time, but rather feel they are receiving value from you during the meeting. Be consistent, and be sure to open up some time for the team to contribute so that they know their concerns and ideas are being heard.
- Personal Development
A great way to develop your employees personally, and in their work, is to assign some pertinent books and articles to read, and then discuss them together. It is important for you to demonstrate the values you want your team members to exhibit. Reading the same books that helped shape your vision for your company can go a long way toward helping your employees and team members to develop that same vision. Simon Sinek (Start With Why) takes the shared vision concept a step further saying “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” Additionally, assigning reading, or continued education for your employees will help them develop new skills, or further develop existing skills that will propel them toward greater career success.
- Let the Team in on the Planning Process
If you want your team to be more invested in your company’s goals, get them involved in the planning processes at year-end or quarterly planning times. Seeing the process first hand will give them a better understanding of how your goals are shaped, and solidify those goals in their thinking, so they can better focus on them through the year. Another great benefit of involving your team is getting their input and insight. Your team members have a very different perspective from you, as the owner, and that perspective can be extremely valuable when it comes to setting goals and addressing issues in your business. There may be roadblocks that need to be cleared before goals can be met, that aren’t visible to you at the owner/management level. Or there may be room for added capacity that you haven’t been able to identify. In either case, having the input of your team will help you optimize your goals.
- Get the Team involved in tracking your goals
Now that you have involved your people in setting the goals, it’s time to involve them in tracking those goals through the year. Doing this will keep the team excited and focused on the goals you have set together, and it will also keep you accountable and focused. You may find that you can achieve more when everyone is pulling the same direction. Even employees who are trying to follow the direction you are setting for the team may struggle to perform optimally if they don’t have a clear understanding of where the target is. Regularly checking in on your goals with your team will keep that target clearly in focus.
Ultimately the responsibility of crafting a pleasant and productive work environment rests with you, the business owner. Be intentional in implementing these 4 strategies for developing your company culture and watch how the working environment changes around you!
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