3 Deliberate Steps to Building Culture
They say your actions speak louder than your words—and for anyone who has invested time into building and sustaining organizational culture, you’ll know they’re right. I frequently discuss how the “words on the wall” cease to matter if the actions of the company—and the leadership in particular—do not reflect the purported values. While leading by example is a crucial step towards creating a healthy culture, it’s simply one of many. Below are three other deliberate and actionable steps you can take to build the culture of your company for the better:
Whether you know your brand or not your customers will sense it—especially in a competitive market. With so many companies vying for the attention of their customers in one space, who you are as a company is more important than ever before. When confronted between two similar products or services, often it is the company that has been able to connect on a different level with their audience that gets the business.
Craig Gentry, a former executive with Unilever Food Solutions for over 25 years, suggests knowing your brand to “know what you and your company stand for—who you are and who you aren’t.”
Following Gentry’s advice, it’s important to stay committed to that without attempting to be something that you’re not, “I’ve seen companies claim to be all about family or centered on fitness, but down the line it turns out that they’re not—and it hurts their image. Whatever you are, just be authentic about it to your employees and customers.”
Perhaps most important however is the deliberate action of investing in a diverse workforce. “It’s such a tragic flaw to not have diversity within a company. You have to be open-minded enough to truly dig in and see the perspectives that others are coming from or how they came to certain decisions. What you should be aiming for is ‘diversity of thought’ that comes from hiring employees from all different cultures, races, genders, etc.”
The notion of “diversity of thought” couldn’t be more relevant as various movements are calling for a change in the way companies are being led, employees are being valued and opportunities are made available to people from all genders, races, and backgrounds throughout a plethora of industries. To this point, however, Gentry reminds us to not approach “diversity as simply trying to hit a quota”—but instead to dive into the backgrounds and experiences from a varied pool of applicants.
Building a sustainable and healthy culture doesn’t happen overnight—and it certainly doesn’t happen by accident. It takes deliberate steps by the leaders of a company that in turn encourage the actions of their employees to embrace the values that will help create a thriving culture.
Kevin Bugielski is the Marketing Manager for Victory Lap, a purpose-driven startup changing the sales game. Avid Snapchatter, SoulCycle lover, newfound runner, but ultimately, a foodie.