Build a Culture and Community Before You Build a Company.

| August 24, 2018

As passionate business owners we tend to think that our business, products and packages are the things that attract and keep that next hot shot staff member who is going to help us build our empire. That’s the kind of thinking that loses quality staff and somehow keeps those people that we wish we could get rid of.

We need to start caring more about the people in our business than the business in our people! Right from recruitment stages, we need to look at cultural fit and not just the cost of a resource and if they can do the job from a technical point of view. Understandably there are always different products, services and environments, so yes, we need to have technically competent people, but we also need to know that IQ means nothing without EQ. In the world we live in now, its no longer a case of business to business or B2B, its now people to people or P2P. It doesn’t really matter what you do inside your business if you cannot generate passion and purpose inside your people.

People are not attracted to your company because of the package you offer, because at the end of the month they are always 1 Rand short or 1 thousand Rand short, so for 1 Rand more they will leave and find “greener pastures”. You need to build a culture that is so attractive, so cause driven, so people-centric and so driven by thinking leaders at all levels, that your staff never want to leave even when they are still 1 Rand short. Build a culture and a community before you build a company!

In a culture that cares more for people than policy and process, you must create an environment where they believe, belong and behave in such a way that it demonstrates the culture where people go from new recruits to engaged communities. As a leader you need to define, design and refine your culture. Remember that your culture is already there, and not all of it is bad, so focus on defining what you currently have – ask yourself and your team questions like, “Who are we and what do we represent?” and “Why did you join our team and why do people leave?”

When you design your culture, you have to be intentional about what you want, why you want it and whether or not you actually have the appetite to grow that culture at every level and at every opportunity. Culture growth is relentless, and you really need to believe in what you are doing, and who you are becoming. On this side you need to ask yourself questions like “Why do I believe what I believe?” and “Am I as a leader really teaching and preaching, selling and telling, showing and growing culture?” We cannot complain about our staff when we attract who we are as leaders, as people and as a culture.

Refining culture is like high speed, always on, uninterrupted WIFI – its always on and it never slows down or gets interrupted. This means that you need to teach your culture to your leaders and your staff and never allow it to become diluted by other people, policies or procedures. Picture culture like cordial, you pour just enough into a glass which is the environment and then you mix that with the right amount or water – your people, but as your business grows so does the amount of water, so be careful to always top up the cordial so that your team and your clients always get the right mix of flavour and colour and that it is always refreshing!

Once you have defined, designed and refined your culture, people can see that they have reason to believe in you and the cause, your why…and your why is your reason and when you have a real reason you’ll achieve a real result. Your team will belong to your culture and company, they will be able to be identified by their ownership and commitment and finally they will behave in such a way that illustrates pride and passion in and for the vision and values that are the pillars of your culture.

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