How to Create a Great Business Culture

Job turnover in an organisation with positive company culture is around 14%, compared to turnover in low company cultures at almost 50%

In last week’s blog I wrote about digging deep to find your true core values. Having defined them, it’s important to live them consistently, because from these behaviours will stem the culture of your business.

  • whatever you show is important,
  • whatever you measure,
  • whatever you follow-up on

will be what your team focus on, will become the things that are important to them too, and ultimately will become the culture of your team.

So if you’re trying to improve your culture you might want to start with where you are now. ( Like if you were trying to lose weight you’d start by weighing or measuring yourself.) You probably have a gut feel for the atmosphere round the place but what can you really measure? Here’s a selection of

Culture indicators

  • employee turnover
  • net loss or gain of customers
  • attendance
  • productivity
  • complaints/rework
  • profit

Choose which are appropriate for your business, then look back over the past year and measure them. There are many signs of poor culture e.g cliques, clock watching, poor communication, stress or lethargy, sloppy work but ultimately the effects of these will manifest in the key indicators above. (If you graph each, every quarter you can use it to monitor progress, just as you do your Key Business Performance Indicators.)

Establishing a positive culture

So what can you do to change a poor culture if you have one, or to create a positive culture if you’re just starting to build your team?

Once you’ve established your starting point, as a manager or business owner, the first place you need to look is in the mirror. Look at the way you behave, what you follow up on, what you praise, how you communicate with individuals, what you show the team is important to you, every, single, day.

If you say that keeping commitments is important to you, do you always turn up to every meeting on time?

If you say you’re going to have a one to one with a team member, do you ever cancel it because you’re just too busy, or something more important has come up.

If you say that feedback is important for personal growth, do you listen to, and reflect on feedback from your team?

Shadow of the leader

Whether we like it or not, as managers we cast a shadow over the people in our team, and just like a child will mimic their parents, our team will mimic our behaviours and actions, follow our cues, develop our traits.

It’s important that you understand the power of your shadow, and model the behaviours that you want to see in your team, because your example will be followed

Your values come first, your team culture will follow.

Draw a picture of yourself – it doesn’t have to be a great piece of art – a stickman or a rough outline will do. Then on the right of your picture, write down all of the things that represent you on a good day.

– What are you like?

– How do you act?

– What do you say? Or not say?

– How are you with the team?

– What’s your energy like?

Then, on the left of your picture, write down all of the things that represent you on a bad day.

– What are you like?

– How do you act?

– What do you say? Or not say?

– How are you with the team?

– What’s your energy like?

Spend at least 15 minutes reflecting on the shadow you cast over the team.

Do one thing: develop at least one strategy for eliminating, or at least minimising your ‘bad’ days.

(And if you want to monitor improvement then choose past and future culture indicators to chart as outlined above.)

Thanks for reading.


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Marianne Page

Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)


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