I had the privilege recently to speak at the 2015 Retail Merchandising & Marketing Conference and met amazing leaders from around the world – all of them from the retail industry. I was speaking on the topic, “Team Building Meets Customer Service.” The bottom line being that any organization’s level of service and ultimately their success, is directly tied to the culture of the company.
Culture is defined as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution or organization. It picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. In fact, culture guides discretionary behavior, and tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room – which is most of the time.
And just to give you some context as to why culture matters, studies have shown that the way people feel about their work environment and the culture of an organization can account for nearly 30% of business performance.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – Peter Drucker
Over the next 4 weeks, I’m going to share four of the most successful strategies that you can implement to strengthen the culture of your organization.
1. Be intentional.
The best organizations with the strongest internal cultures have clarity about what they're seeking to create. Company leaders know exactly what kind of a culture they want to build, and the critical role it plays in achieving their performance objectives. They rely on core values, collaboration, communication, and integrity not only in how they speak, but in how they act.
At the conference I had the opportunity to speak with the Director of National Merchandising for LEGO (one of my all-time favorite products and one I use in my Project Manager training workshops). The Director told me that the company believes one of their greatest strengths is their culture, and that they take it very seriously.He even spoke about how intentional LEGO is in hiring new team members. They will sometimes take months to go through the process, making sure that not only do people have the technical knowledge required but also are a good fit culturally. And it's paid off in terms of the bottom line. In a world dominated by video games and high tech toys, LEGO has posted double-digit growth year after year. Impressive.
More about LEGO's culture
If you want to form a stronger culture, develop clear guidelines and expectations for everyone in the organization, and that will become the organizing principles of the company's culture. Be intentional as to how you institute and support those guidelines and eventually they become values with teeth, powerful enough to shape tough decisions about hiring, strategy, and growth.
Check out my second strategy for creating a culture that inspires your teams and leads to greater success.
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Kevin Ciccotti, Human Factor Formula
Helping companies create sustainable, effective teams that are committed to the success of their projects, the organization, and the individuals with whom they work