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Company Culture -- What's Yours?
Most large organizations spend significant time and money creating a culture. The Walt Disney Company holds a two-day class for all new hires called Traditions. While various human resources policies are covered, the primary goal is for every cast member to know what it means to do things the "Disney Way" and how to execute it. As a result, no matter when a guest visits the park, the experience is consistent; cast members are led to always go the extra mile in preserving the magic. And let's not forget about Zappos. Their billion dollar success was built on a culture of happiness and killer customer service.
So what is your organization's culture? Have you defined it? Don't know where to start? One simple way to get feedback is starting with anonymous surveys with team members to make them answer a few key questions. How are we currently operating? How could we improve operations for our key stakeholders? Do you feel empowered to in your current role in the company?
As you open up the dialogue, you can build a vision of your organization's culture and strengthen it with the team signing on with support. Once a positive organizational culture is formed, employee actions stem from a consistent and positive place for the organization. Sometimes small organizations don't consider the importance of creating a culture. The perception is that we're too small to worry about it. What usually ends up happening is a culture is formed based on the lack of culture - yikes!
As the CEO of a small company I know both sides of this coin. Sitting in a staff meeting with a few employees sharing the vision to change the world may feel a little silly and maybe even obnoxious, but chances are if you don't engage your staff and help them to understand exactly how they fit into the plan, you will miss your mark.
Learn from my mistakes. With a mix of full-time and contract employees working on an ever growing project load, I have from time to time ignored the culture norms that make us who we are. What I've found is each time that happens a new culture emerges that doesn't reflect who we are and how we want to be viewed.
In my next post, I'll share more about our experiences. Stay tuned!