If you’re a company owner, you probably want a say in how your company is perceived by its staff, customers and other key stakeholders. And you definitely want a say in how smoothly and profitably it operates. While you can’t control every little thing that can slip through the cracks, you can certainly lay the groundwork to facilitate success.

If you’ve thoughtfully built your company’s culture from the get-go and have woven it just as thoughtfully into your hiring and operational practices, then you are way ahead of the game. If you haven’t — or if you have, but were somehow derailed along the way — there are a few things you can do to get started or get back on track.

Getting Started

Company VisionWorking with someone who is trained in team dynamics can greatly facilitate the process. But dedicated managers with strong people skills, an intuitive nature, and  a “top of mind” attitude can also set the right direction.

  1. If you don’t already have a thoughtfully written mission and vision, you’ll need to create them because this is where it all begins. The mission and vision should have strong buy-in from your management team.
  2. Clearly communicate vision and goals across every level of the company to ensure alignment. This can be accomplished with a clearly written and periodically updated (monthly or quarterly) set of long-term and short-term goals.
  3. Set expectations amongst the management team and, in turn, mangers should set expectations amongst their teams. These expectations are meant to prevent an imbalance between the vision that has been communicated and the values that are practiced with everyday policies from hiring to manufacturing.
  4. Set strategies that merge this vision with company practices. This can a written document of policies and etiquette that is appropriately updated at each stage of growth.
  5. Build your company’s communication channels and continue to strengthen them as you grow. At a tactical level, create a high-level schedule of team meetings, topics, goals, and meeting frequency. Be flexible enough so that you don’t have meetings for the sake of having meetings, and recognize that a 5 minute morning update can often be enough to keep everyone on the same page.
  6. Create strategies that develop or enhance team collaboration. Get to know your team members and encourage your managers to do the same. Ask questions, stay engaged, and pay attention to what motivates each person and how different team members can work best together.

Keep It Going

Your company culture needs to be nurtured and maintained for it to continue to serve you well.

  • Screen potential employees for functional and cultural fit before they are hired.
  • Develop a meaningful new hire orientation to instill practices from the onset.
  • Improve email communication & etiquette to help improve morale and productivity.
  • Align your company culture with your customer experience.
  • Coach and develop managers continually.
  • Resolve conflicts at their core.

A successful and sustainable company culture isn’t built by haphazardly knocking out items on a checklist. It takes thoughtful consideration at every step and thoughtful participation at every level of the company.