Having a thriving culture has never been as important as it today. Regardless if you are three people in a room just starting out or a large team working worldwide, it’s essential to recognize that your culture impacts everything from performance, customer experience, and engagement to the speed of innovation and profitability.
After working with thousands of founders and CEOs, one common question is: How can we intentionally design a culture that champions High Achievers?
There are several pieces to designing and creating a strong cultural foundation and later scaling the culture as the company grows. However, one key step that is occasionally overlooked is turning value words into company-specific definitions and later specific actions. So how do you do it?
1. Culture is a Way to Drive Behavior
Every journey starts with awareness, so ask yourself: what are the core principles that your company needs to embody? Which three (or more) values fully capture what your company is all about and how you act upon it every day? For example, if “collaboration” is one of them, what does that really mean to your company?
Your company values should serve as a guiding beacon for all of your company’s actions. Choosing the right values (and words) as the first step matters, but there is so much more to it.
2. Getting Specific
Ask a room full of diverse people to imagine a glass, and you’ll probably notice two things: not everyone pictures the same glass, and the image they produce is influenced by the environment they come from. Now, how can your interdisciplinary team spontaneously agree on the meaning of “collaboration” without prior alignment? Since you’ll probably be dealing with different perspectives, it’s essential to get specific and describe exactly what each of these words means to you and your company. This can be done by elaborating on the significance of the value and highlighting the nuances of what it means to all of you. In this way, you will lay down a common ground for your team members to act upon
3. Turning Values into Actions
When you all know and have internalized what all your values mean in detail, the next question to explore is “What does success look like?” For instance, if we live in line with our value “collaboration,” how does that look like? Which core behaviors do we wish to focus on and celebrate? This can be anything from collaborating with your customers in your product development by embracing the customer-centric approach to bringing all departments together to represent different perspectives in the ideation phase of a new product. In short, which key actions reflect “collaboration” as a value in each area of the company, in each project that you fulfill and in each task that the team executes? What are the specific goals that embody each of your company’s values?
These three actionable steps are pivotal in creating the cultural foundation of a thriving company culture that can help bridge the gap between having words on the wall and having actual, strong company values that are really supported by actions. So ask yourself:
i. What are your core company values?
ii. What exactly do your values mean to you?
iii. What do your values look like as actions?
By asking yourself these three simple questions, you’ll be able to kickstart your journey towards designing a company culture that empowers your team members to thrive.
This is a great beginning of creating a cultural foundation. However, there is so much more than value creation to a company’s culture. To find out more, explore our fully customized Cultural Design Programs and get instant access to The Achievement Template for Startups by clicking here.