Building Culture

Everyone has their own value and self-worth, and as a business owner you should know that your business has value and worth.  Of course as accountants we can measure your companies’ value but we can never really measure your company’s true culture and what lies profoundly at the heart it carries.

Your business’ current culture is usually connected to high turnover, but we need to dig deeper and start with the basic steps to achieve a successful culture.  Culture is not just reviewing employees and reviewing feedback from not only within your organisation but from the outside as well.  Knowing your culture assists your organisation’s strategy and helps build it up to be crumble-proof when companies start growing and thriving.

How do you go about creating the “right” culture?  I would like to start by asking you three important questions:

  1. Why does your company exist?
  2. What does your company stand for?
  3. What is your vision for your company?

Answering these questions will define your company values.  Clearly stating your company’s values will set up the first steps to building a winning culture.  It will start to give your company the right platform for what it stands for and it will be the guide your employees will stand to value and strive to succeed.  If you feel like you have missed out on this fundamental step, it would be wise to go back to the drawing board and go through this process, however it is never late to renew and reclaim your values.  After all, the culture of a business is constantly undergoing change and focus.

Performance appraisals are an important step when culture is involved.  Without recognising the success of your employees, members of your team will not understand their responsibilities in realising the company’s objectives.  Without knowing the company’s objectives it will be difficult for the team to remain focused which in turn will lead to unmotivated team members.  Without proper appraisals for performance of your employees you are hurting your company and potentially detracting it from having a the “right” culture.  Inherently performance appraisals should be used to fine-tune the performance of your team and should be the culmination of a year of “on the spot” reviewing.  As they say, there should be no surprises in a performance appraisal.  But what is really important, is rewarding your team as a group, individual recognition is good, but team recognition is the nirvana.  Team-based goals with team-based rewards.

FAILURE IS OKAY.  Personally I know how much it feels like it is a stab to the gut but you need to feel the heeling and what you have learnt from it.  As a company you should embrace failure, as the last thing you want is your team to be afraid to take risks because of the possible repercussions.  It could lead to team members becoming passive and with a passive team comes a passive business and there’s no growth in passiveness.  Taking an aggressive risk can be innovative and growth can be found, as you cannot grow without taking a risk.  It is important for your business culture to welcome failure, as with every fail, there is a lesson learnt and succession becomes inevitable.

While skills and experience may be a good indicator of someone who can do a job, skills alone are not good enough when you’re trying to build a winning culture.   We would suggest hiring a person who strongly believes in your company’s vision and fits well in to your team.  As it is better to teach and build these candidates with the necessary skills than to hire someone who is an “expert” but does not fit your culture and does not believe in your vision.  After all, you can’t train the right personality into someone.

You should look at your business as one who will dominate your industry for decades.  So why not make it easier to hire candidates who aren’t as strong on paper as someone else, but who will quickly surpass other candidates because they fit your culture.  These candidates will stick around if your business faces tough times, as these are the people who will plant their feet and double down their efforts and give more than they need, to see your business succeed.

The secret here is to trust your team, trust them to do the best they possibly can.  If your team sees that you trust them, you give them confidence and this translates to strong motivation, and goal-oriented success will always be the result.  With a trusting team, you receive a trusting customer base, due to increased influence of your team members working towards achieving the best for your clients.  If you speak to your team as if you are always too busy to respect their ideas or cut them off when they are talking, they will reflect this to clients.  To have a good business culture it is vital in having respectful communications with your team and it is vital for building trust.

The process of building the right culture for your business may work differently from one person to another but it all starts with setting the right company values.

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