“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Henry Ford
The simplicity of Ford’s quote is powerful, and it is a true statement. The tough part is to actually get everyone on the same page!
Culture is driven from the top, and needs to be embraced throughout the organization. Yet people have their own ideas about what they like or dislike, what they will “buy in to” and what they feel is being rammed down their throats.
This individuality is both a blessing and a curse.
You don’t want to have people working for you that fundamentally don’t agree with your culture, your philosophies or your way of doing business.
You also don’t want a bunch of “followers” who mindlessly do what they are told.
The only way that I know to tackle this conundrum is to create a culture that works for the kind of people you want to attract. People that fit your culture will feel comfortable working there and those that don’t fit likely won’t last very long. Over time you develop ways to hire that will better eliminate those that don’t fit, reducing the number of hiring mistakes.
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” Simon Sinek
This is of course a simplistic 30,000 foot view because of course the reality is much more difficult.
Culture should be a conscious choice, not just a byproduct of local leaders and influential hires. The slightly longer version (maybe the 10,000 foot version) of how to achieve that would include:
- Decide what values are important to your company… and communicate them regularly.
- Understand what your company does, and does NOT do… and communicate it, regularly.
- Have a direction for the company that is clear… THIS is where we are going! AND communicate it regularly.
- Make sure that your business direction and values are aligned.
- Make sure that any business decisions support your values and business direction.
- Do not be swayed from your company objectives unless it is through a conscious strategic decision, certainly not a local ad-hoc business call!
- Hire people that can buy into the company culture.
- Do not hang onto people that are not a fit… the longer they are there, the more they damage your culture.
- Communicate your values, vision and mission with passion… demonstrating how important it is.
- Most importantly… LIVE those values.
Leaders have a responsibility to their company and to the people who work there, to embody the values of the corporation. Leaders who expect people to “Do what I say, not what I do” are fooling themselves if they think anyone buys that act in the modern work place!
“No company, large or small, can succeed over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” Jack Welch
If you can have a company where everyone is pulling in the same direction, then you can achieve anything!
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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