Preserve the Best and Reinvent the Rest
The word vibrant represents so many wonderful things to me. The word culture scares me. It scares me because I think it is misunderstood in the business world. Now if you want to talk about incorporating vibrancy into your company culture, then I am very excited. Imagine being part of a company whose employees refer to their company culture as vibrant. Can you imagine the impact on productivity, employee retention, customer service and, yes, loyalty?
When I think about the word vibrant, I think about colors, energy and pleasant sounds – things that are bright, fun and full of life. When I think about the word culture, I think about values, norms and practices. I think about the personality or soul of a company and the characteristics that define a company.
Now imagine a company with a culture that has a personality or soul that is fun and full of life and has values and practices that are bright, energetic and give you a good feeling — a culture that has values, norms and practices aligned with yours and that makes you proud. Yes, such companies do exist outside of Disney and Google.
In my work with organizations, whether large or small, the talk about the culture inside an organization often takes on a mysterious quality because people struggle to describe it. If you ask 10 people to describe the culture, it is not unusual to get 10 different responses. Now that’s a problem, but solving it does not take a huge effort or big bucks. There are solutions that can be fun as well as powerful when you engage key people in this work. They begin to feel like owners and behave like owners.
You might ask, what are the next steps? I encourage business owners or leaders to look at their vision for the organization. Then take a hard look at the way they do business. For me, that is what culture is all about. Take a hard look at what values, norms and practices exist and continue to serve the company, its employees and customers. Take a look as well at what does not continue to serve these groups.
- How do your employees feel about the company?
- Do they enjoy working there, selling your products and providing excellent service every day?
- How do they talk about the company?
This corporate introspection cannot be done in a vacuum and leaders or owners must include key team members and employees. It comes down to leveraging what each does best — and that means with employees as well as customers. Discard what no-longer serves the company then reinvent, innovate and create.
The call to action here is to create a vibrant culture in your company. Business owners or leaders have an obligation and the power to shape the culture. They know when the culture needs a tune-up and must demonstrate the courage to look inside and see where they can leverage the best and reinvent the rest.