5 Essentials of Culture Building

The most important thing about us is the way we treat each other while we do the work.

Organizational culture is simply the way people consistently treat each other.

the most important thing about us is the way we treat each other while we do the work

(This post is based on my conversation with Micah Solomon and his new book, “Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away).”)

5 Essentials of culture building*:

#1. Define your purpose in a sentence or two.

  1. Clear language.
  2. Short enough to be memorable.
  3. Long enough to be meaningful.

Mayo Clinic: “The needs of the patient come first.”

#2. Set down a short list of principles that are fundamental to your desired culture.

For example:

  1. We value every individual’s input and creativity.
  2. Service is the responsibility of everyone here.

#3. Express your cultural expectations at every possible junction, from recruitment onward.

#4. Maintain a repeating ritual for cultural reinforcement.

Use morning huddles – under 10 minutes – as culture builders.

  1. Focus on one principle.
  2. Illustrate the principle with a story.
  3. Discuss techniques, pitfalls, and challenges overcome.
  4. Led by a different team member everyday.

#5. Develop an obsession with talent management.

Solomon defines talent management as, “Recruitment, selection, and nurturing the team who will power your success.”

  1. Embrace trait-based hiring. Technical skills AND personal traits matter. How do prospective employees treat current employees? Ask, “Could you tell me about a time when you…?”
  2. Focus onboarding on PURPOSE.
  3. Invite input and flexibility in job design.

Solomon’s book is about customer service. I found it useful both from customer service and from a leadership point of view.

What culture building mistakes do you see in organizations?

What essentials of culture building might you add to the list?

*Find, “Five Steps Toward Creating a Customer Service Culture,” on page 17 of Solomon’s book.

Contact Micah Solomon:

Email: micah@micahsolomon.com

Read chapter 3 of, “Ignore Your Customers.” (Requires email)

Bonus material:

Building Company Culture: 7 Steps for Every Small Business (Linkedin)

Understanding and Developing Organizational Culture (SHRM)

Move in the Right Direction with a Culture Building Champion (Leadership Freak)