Company culture started as a buzzword and then became a synonym for free lunches and ping pong tables. But the truth of creating a lasting, empowered culture is it’s the key to a powerful company.
Of course, not all advice on creating and maintaining productive, profitable company cultures is equal. That’s why we love business expert Simon Sinek. So let’s jump into his top five recommendations for shifting your company culture to its best.
Don’t Create Your Culture with Nouns
Too often, company culture statements are static and aspirational: be honest, respectful, and innovative. But, unfortunately, these are all non-specific, no-brainer qualities. And if they’re no-brainers, they won’t convey meaning to your employees or stand out against the competition.
Instead, Sinek recommends using verbs. In an interview with BigThink+, Sinek said:
“True values are how you act when you are at your natural best.”
He continued with an example of how to replace typical culture nouns with empowering verb:
“It’s not ‘Innovation.’ It’s ‘Look at the problem from a different angle.’”
An action-centered culture helps you to define how you will respond during easy times and under pressure.
Hire Based on What Really Matters
Spoiler alert– it’s not the resume. While qualifications and experience are important, those are teachable skills. What you can’t teach matters most: the candidate’s personality and natural skillset.
Have a careful hiring process that prioritizes personality alignment with your culture over their resume and awards. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when you’re willing to pass over “big shots” to maintain a positive culture.
Be a Leader You Would Follow
It’s an interesting human experience that we all know what a boss should be when we report to them. But we often forget those points as soon as we become bosses ourselves. Being an entrepreneur and business owner requires a clear vision of the kind of leader you respond to and how you are trying to lead.
The truth is that CEOs are the company culture, no matter how large the organization is. They set the tone for how business is done regardless of company mottos and written policies. Most people want a leader with clearly defined tasks, who offers constructive criticism, provides support through resources and training and listens to problems and concerns. So do everything you can to give that kind of work environment. Where you fall short, ensure to communicate that you see the gaps and are working hard to close them.
Work With the Right Employees to Create and Maintain Change
Sinek is a big proponent of the law of diffusion. Simply put, you can only create lasting change by working with the employees who will embrace it. Once the change has been established, the stragglers will eventually conform. But if you try to get everyone on board simultaneously, you’re unlikely to get the critical mass momentum required to effect real change.
So identify your proactive, innovative employees and make them the champions of change. Be careful not to react to the stragglers and let the innovators diffuse the change and trickle down.
Remember, hiring is only half of creating the best staff. Firing those who consistently prove to be obstacles to company culture is also essential.
Focus on Values and Money Will Follow
Finally, Sinek advises business owners to prioritize their company values over money. He claims that companies focused on values first often have better stamina and deliver better value than companies that focus on profitability first.
That’s because value-driven work typically fuels aspirational actions beyond a paycheck. Employees who genuinely believe in their product or service will go above and beyond to provide a quality customer experience. Customers will sense your dedication and create a trusting, two-way relationship with improved customer retention. And you’ll have the energy to continue innovating and evolving with the market.
We love Simon Sinek, and if you loved this list, we recommend catching this short interview with Sinek about company culture.
Ready for Growth?
Managing business growth is challenging, especially when you already feel strapped on time and resources. So how do you know which changes will bring the greatest ROI and how many new things to balance at once? That’s where we come in.
Think of us as a third-party partner committed to supporting you from start to finish. That includes discovery, implementing changes, and sticking around to see your business recover. And we’ll still be there in a year or two to help you adapt to new needs and growth!
Let’s start the conversation today, and get your business performing up to its potential!