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.
5 Essentials of culture building*:
#1. Define your purpose in a sentence or two.
- Clear language.
- Short enough to be memorable.
- 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.
- We value every individual’s input and creativity.
- 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.
- Focus on one principle.
- Illustrate the principle with a story.
- Discuss techniques, pitfalls, and challenges overcome.
- 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.”
- 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…?”
- Focus onboarding on PURPOSE.
- 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:
Read chapter 3 of, “Ignore Your Customers.” (Requires email)
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)