Put simply, the culture of a company is the sum of the behaviours of all its people (Michael Kouly). Our workplace culture gives us a sense of identity, ensures we attract and retain the right people, and gives us a deeper sense of connection.
One of the mistakes we make as leaders is to presume that culture will take care of itself, or worse, that it really doesn’t matter.
My business partner, a mad-keen strategist, loves the saying ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ (which comes from leadership guru Peter Drucker). And it’s true! Culture is the glue that pulls and keeps the team together and is the thing that can either drive success (when it is a positive culture) or spiral us to failure (when it is a negative culture).
The thing I love about cultures in workplaces is that there is no one-size-fits-all. For all those people who love the cookie-cutter approach or are looking for the five slogans that will make your culture great – I’m sorry – they don’t exist. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to culture and part of the cultural journey for each business is understanding what type of culture they want and need in order to enjoy success and then being zealously consistent in building and protecting that culture.
And even though defining a great culture might be an elusive thing, you will absolutely know when you have it. You will know when people enjoy coming to work, when your people are engaged in their work and driven towards your vision. You will know when people talk about feeling ‘at home’ or ‘I just fit in’ or ‘it’s my tribe’ when they are describing the business.
If you’ve heard me speak before, you might have heard me say that ‘people are the most powerful, inimitable asset in your business’. Now I know that ‘inimitable’ is not a common word (it means something which cannot be imitated) – but funnily enough that is a quirky side of our culture at Focus HR – words fascinate us and interesting ones tend to stick. Back to the point though – until you’ve harnessed the power of your team, your business will not reach its full potential. You can copy machines, IT systems, procedures, software etc. What you can’t copy is your people, your team and your culture. This is why it is inimitable.
And everything is driven at some point by a human being. There are human touch points along every service of product delivery journey. And of course, because they are human, they have the highest potential for human error. But that’s why, if you get your people practices right, you are also tapping into the single greatest opportunity to strength in your business.
We enjoy helping our clients on the cultural journey – gaining clarity on what their current culture is, what they’d like and need it to be, and how their team can get there.
If you’d like to gain some insights on this, as well as talk values and team building, take our Culture, Values and Team Building scorecard here – then join our next free webinar on Friday 17th February.
You can register for the webinar here