Business Culture and Values

business cultureThere is a lot of talk recently about culture in an organization, both good and bad. I think what everyone finally agrees on is that  business culture matters and those identified as “good” cultures usually produce results far exceeding their peers.

So what makes a culture “good” or “bad?” I believe a good business culture is one that can be easily identified by values and those values are “lived” in the organization on a daily basis. My personal values are Creativity, Caring, Curiosity, and Authenticity. When running organizations, I used my personal values as my guide and sometimes they also became those of the organization. There are literally hundreds of values. The important thing is to identify yours, your organization’s, and then make them part of the cultural DNA of the company. Each value needs a short 1-2 sentence meaning so that your intent is clear and there is no ambiguity about what is intended in this context.

Intentional Culture

Once the values are identified, they can be easily embedded into all aspects of the organization. This is what makes an intentional culture. If you have a value of authenticity, then you would want to hire for this and develop questions that would allow you to decided whether a candidate was a good “cultural” fit.  Remember we usually hire people for what they do and fire them for who they are – in intentional cultures we hire for who they are and train if we have to.All processes, procedures, traditions, customers, vendors, products and services should be aligned with the company culture. When this happens in a business, remarkable things start to take place. Employees are energetic and innovative. Customer service excellence becomes a way of life and everything becomes “easy.” Of course, occasionally you will have a bad hire or a bad customer, or a process go awry, but with strong values in place, employees, and management alike know exactly what to do and are empowered to actually make it happen.