Culture + Values + Alignment = A Company to Love

business culture“There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?” ~Warren Buffet

Having a great workplace culture is not just a happy ideal and a kumbaya moment for your employees. It’s about productivity, employee retention and the ability to have a place that both you AND your employees want to come every day. Remember you started your business because you were tired of working for someone else and presumably wanted to do something that you loved. Of course, you probably didn’t think through the whole entrepreneurship bucket of emotions, but on the whole, it seemed better than the alternative!

So why don’t we pay more attention to culture? Because it’s “soft” and we’re hard-charging, focused-on-the-goal, bulls-on-the-run. But it turns out that culture has more to do with success than everything else combined – a good product or service will stagnate in a culture that is not aligned on mission and values.

When I present “Creating Intentional Culture & Values” to companies, I can always tell how long or short the values conversation will be. I see how the room is set-up, how the employees are grouped, how open or closed they are and how much attention is being paid to the conversation. Good or aligned cultures come to agreement on the values quickly with little equivocation over definitions. Unaligned or unintentional cultures don’t agree and the values conversation is almost never concluded. Without this basic agreement, productivity will never happen. Employees will be unhappy, arguments will ensue, people will choose sides and employee retention goes out the window.

As the leader, it’s up to you to set the vision, the strategy, and the culture to achieve it. Your job is to grow your company and your people. Without a productive or “intentional” culture, this is almost impossible. An aligned, intentional culture achieves amazing results. For your New Year’s resolution, take some time to revisit or refine your values, decide how they can be lived in the workplace, and most importantly, figure out how to hire to them. You can have a company you love, but more importantly, you can create one that others love working for.

“If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people do look forward to coming to work in the morning.” ~John Mackey, Whole Foods Market