3 Ways To Design A Winning Business Culture

The following article was originally published at Therese Gedda.com – we hope you enjoy it!

Imagine a company that people love to be part of building, where everyone supports each other, and you are changing the world together. You can either design a culture that aligns with your goals and vision or just let the culture develop in any direction.

Don’t just let it happen, consciously design it. Here are 3 ways on how to build your own winning business culture.

1. Always, always start with the purpose

The reason your company exists is its purpose. It’s the foundation of the business. The values are a way to live and act upon the purpose. However, values are not just some words on a website. They are the soul of the company.

If you want to build something extraordinary, you can’t follow the crowd. Building a company is so much more than just a product or service. Purpose-led companies with a strong culture, where people are hired based on their values and cultural fit is the future. Companies like Southwest Airlines, Virgin and Zappos are leading the way by putting best practices into action.

Before you can design a culture based your purpose, you need to formulate it. To make it clear and honest. At 30minMBA, we believe in empowering individuals to reach their full potential. In everything we do, we always strive to achieve this.

By putting your people and culture first, happy customers and profit will follow.

Want to learn more? Read Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action written by Simon Sinek.

2. Profit matters, but people matter more

As a startup, you have the opportunity to design a culture that fits your values. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to compete with having the highest salaries and fanciest office. It does not create loyal, motivated people. What’s unique to your company is so much more.

What you can offer your team is a workplace where they thrive, have an opportunity to make an impact and are encouraged to take initiative. So, how do you create a company that people love to be part of building?

i. Be clear in what you believe in and how you work together. To act upon our purpose, we live by three values. Just as the purpose, they influence everything we do, and we have our own vocabulary connected to the values. Our values are “strive for excellence, aim for the WOW and make others successful.” Regardless of strengths, background and, experience, every team member, advisor, and ambassador are united in these values.

ii. Inspire people to take initiative, test, and experiment. If you are working with innovation and are developing something new, you need a culture to support it. The culture needs to be safe to grow, fail and eventually succeed. Working with people with a learning mindset is the key. From a cultural perspective, giving people opportunities to do something new, continuously learn new skills and practice them is the way to go. 

iii. Collaboration, not competition, is how you make people thrive and enjoy their work. Competing inside the company, doesn’t make any sense since you are sharing the same goals. When you compete internally, you create a fearful culture where people often treat each other poorly. The best people quit, and you are left with competitive individuals that only care about themselves.

From the start, we have focused on building a multidisciplinary, international team with people sharing the same vision and values. Today, we have team members in three continents spanning over Cebu in the Philippines, Stockholm in Sweden and New York City in the U.S. Collaboration is encouraged and practiced over departments and continents. One example is our creative sessions where both tech and marketing people meet and solve both challenges from both sides in new creative ways.

To learn more about how to develop a giving and supportive mindset, read The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea written by Bob Burg and John David Mann.

3. Empower people and show genuine appreciation

When you have people who believe in what you believe, your role as a leader besides dealing with the chaos that comes with running a startup is to make sure that people are seen and appreciated.

Everyone experience appreciation differently. It can be expressed and understood in different ways. Just as if you speak English, and your team member only speaks Swedish, it will be hard for your colleague to understand you. Most of us have one primary and one secondary appreciation language. By expressing appreciation in a way that resonates with the individual, you can make the person feel more acknowledged.

Let me give you an example. We have team members who love to arrive at the office sensing the smell of hot coffee prepared for them (acts of service) and seeing a post-it note expressing what a great job they did yesterday (words of appreciation). Others appreciate when we have dinner (quality time). We have team members that are jumping with joy when they get a gift (receiving gifts). Moreover, we always have team members feeling recognized after a friendly hug or a high-five upon completing a task (physical touch). These are just some examples of the five appreciation languages, which are: words of appreciation, act of service, quality time, receiving gifts and physical touch. 

If you communicate in a way that resonates with people, they will not only know that they are appreciated but actually feel it. It is in the feeling where the motivation lies and creates a culture where people excel together.

To learn more about what you and your team members appreciation languages are, read The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People written by Gary Chapman and Paul White.

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