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5 Tools for Building a Winning Company Culture

A winning culture is crucial for company success and it’s not an issue that’s in dispute.  The companies on the Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list perform nearly two times better in stock returns comparatively.  Two times!  And workplaces that measure top tier cultures report 65% lower turnover rates than their peers, which in turn lowers the many associated costs with losing employees (lost knowledge, lost productivity, hiring, onboarding, training, to name a few). 

 So what IS a company culture?

Company culture is the outward expression of the foundational beliefs and attitudes of a company. Culture is where a common belief system – the glue – that binds an organization drives behavior.  In a great company culture, employees and leaders act as if in partnership, there is accountability, performance, and a unique type of pleasure that comes from sharing and striving towards common goals.

 But how to create a winning culture?

 Here are five actionable, measurable, efforts to build a powerful company culture:

 1.    Define Values together:  Far too many executive teams squirrel themselves away and create idealistic Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals in isolation.  Instead, do what Gino Wickman, author of Traction suggests:  Allow the entire team to share the top company values they see embodied by people they work with every day and then leadership can tally up the top picks.  You’ll wind up creating values that matter and a process that’s inclusive, transparent and a result that engenders ownership.

 2.   Create a Company Campfire of Stories:  Since our earliest times, the campfire was where people learned from one another and where tribes kept their culture aligned. Focus on stories instead of “training” as it’s by far the more effective communication tool and capture them with a scalable platform like PlaybookBuilder that leverages video on a searchable training platform.

 3.   Set Actionable and Measurable Goals for Everyone:  Company goals are important but often don’t drill deeply enough into specific and actionable weekly or monthly tasks and results for the folks down the value chain.  Make your team’s goals personalized, measurable, and explicit and you’ll see your team’s confidence soar.

 4.   Keep Everyone Accountable:  Nothing destroys a culture of “A” players faster than tolerance for anything less than total commitment and execution.  Once you’re clear about results, and you’ve communicated those clearly, it’s imperative to hold the members of your team accountable. Read Crucial Accountability by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, David Maxfield for a solid roadmap for creating an accountable culture.

 5.   Recognize Your Culture Heroes:  It’s not enough to clarify and measure.  People who are upholding the standard need to be recognized for their efforts to keep investing and people who are on the sidelines need to see the payoffs.  Employ the power of peer pressure and publically recognize the people that are making a difference in your organization with special perks, elevated status, and company-wide acknowledgement.

 Whether or not you have created your company culture intentionally, you have one.  Yours might be your greatest asset or an incredible liability.  It’s your conviction and passion to drive the right behaviors that will spell positive change in your organization.  Take the reins, solicit help, and make culture a priority this year.

 What are you doing to drive a winning culture? Please share your culture best practices with us!