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Creating an enviable culture

Whether you design it or not, your company has a culture and it affects everything. As Larry Senn puts it - “culture is not an initiative, culture is the enabler of all initiatives”. Company culture is an often overlooked part of businesses, yet it is foundational to your success and the well-being of your team. With that in mind, how do you go about creating an enviable culture within your business?

Three key steps for bringing your company culture to life

1. Identify the culture you have

The first step involves getting a true understanding of your current culture, and that means starting with your people, as they are the ones who are living and experiencing it every day. At Sprout, we survey people and leaders and map the insights to the Competing Values Framework.

Any culture is a mix of these dimensions, usually with one or two that are more dominant. All of these cultures have their own advantages and risks. This framework can be a powerful tool for creating clarity and understanding where you are at so you can design the culture you need to grow, and help to ensure that your leaders are aligned in the direction you’re heading.

2. Designing the culture you need

Now you know where you are at, it’s time to decide what culture will work best with your vision, purpose and stage of growth. This involves looking at everything that affects your culture, from operating rhythms to behaviours and rituals. There is no “right” culture, but there is one that is right for your business and what you want to achieve. The key is to be intentional and build a culture that will help rather than hinder your progress, and have all aspects firing together.

3. Bring your culture to life

Don’t expect a company memo and some posters to do the job, you and your leadership need to drive the change.

  • Bring your people on the journey. Ask for their input and ensure whatever culture you build resonates with your team.

  • Lead by example. Demonstrate the values and behaviours you want to see in your team. Your actions set the tone for the entire organisation.

  • Make it part of the conversation. Talk about your culture and review and refresh it so that it stays relevant.

Some of these things will be small, simple changes, and some will require real transformation over time. But, with an intentionally designed culture, you can take your business from a group of people coexisting, to one that is collaborating, building and connecting effectively. If your people are engaged and all moving in the same direction you're going to move faster.

Written by Tim Judd
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