68% of leaders believe their culture is a source of competitive advantage. 81% believe that an organisation that lacks a high-performance culture is doomed to mediocrity.*
What is culture?
Culture is personality, it is the heart and soul of a business whether good or bad. Culture is built on "shared values and heritage”**, it is carried around with each individual and the collective. Culture: noun; 1. the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a particular people or society [and business].
Why is culture important?
Culture is important because it can either help a business to grow or it can stagnate a business. In a business where the culture is positive people feel at ease and share ideas freely, they are more collaborative and ultimately the customer is happier. Of course every business has its rough edges but on the whole a positive environment will create a flourishing business. And the opposite is true. It is important to invest into your people, your leaders in particular, because they will be leading the way.
It is best to establish a good culture early on, as changing one can be harder than one might think.
How do you establish culture?
What does the atmosphere in your business feel like? Is it welcoming, fun, oppressive, depressive or vibrant? You can asses the culture by taking in the atmosphere, the way employees speak to customers and each other, culture is the way they go about their work, it’s in the ‘why’ they come to work.
First decide what you want the culture to be and then put a strategy in place, it is a challenge to win hearts and minds. People need to understand why they are doing what they are doing, and how you want them to go about it.
You can establish culture by:
1. Explaining and teaching the ‘why’ behind ‘what’ you are doing
2. Setting the expectation (for the whole business and for the individual)
3. Leading by example. Inform your leaders and have them ‘walk the talk’
4. Ensuring everyone takes ownership and responsibility for it.
Building a positive culture produces a better business.
References: Studio Culture by Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy, ***Building a winning culture by Bain & Company, Establishing a culture & leading by Stamford University.