With that Freaking Genius primer on culture in place in the last blog, lets move on to some real life, actionable items you can put into practice in your business today!! Company culture starts and ends with hiring. Hire lazy people and you will build a culture of laziness. No matter how hard you work against it, you will always be pushing a boulder uphill. Hire creative, fun loving people and you will have a creative, fun loving culture as if by magic!Once you have assembled an army of people who share your company culture, it is time to cultivate!
If you have a culture of creativity and fun-paint your office walls with that cool whiteboard paint with dry erase markers everywhere so your guests and employees can express their creativity as it strikes. Bring a foosball table and dartboard into the office.
If your company has a culture of accountability, consider lists with names and performance posted everywhere along with clear guidelines on reporting. Accompany this with ongoing training on efficiency, tracking and accountability.
Want to cultivate a company culture of innovation? Consider creativity days where people can spend the day away from their regular duties thinking on creative ways to serve your customer better, or a creativity room where people can draw, brainstorm, talk and relax with customers or read. You could even instill daily brainstorming sessions and reward the employee with the best idea with the aforementioned creativity day away from the office. Heck, creativity is your Core Value, you figure it out and tell the rest of us what to do!!
I want to make sure I pack as many actionable items into this blog as possible, so I am going to give you some freaking genius examples I used in my companies- feel free to swipe, steal and otherwise put them into practice in your business immediately!!
My Core Values for the last decade have been:
- Make Money
- Have Fun
- Be Real
- Help Out
Bonus Genius: All of our Core Values start with verbs- ACTION Words! Make Money is a better than Profitability, Have Fun beats the pants off of just Fun, you get the idea…
Here are some genius examples of how we rocked these Core Values in my companies:
- Make Money- This was one of my favorites- we just came out and said it.
- When customers wanted to beat us up on price we could just point to our Core Values and tell them we were in this thing to make money and if they wanted to do business with us, they would have to pay enough for us to make a profit.
- You would be surprised how many people would pay more because they aligned with our Core Values so well, they just wanted to be a part of what we were doing
- Every other Core Value rested on this one, it is really hard to have fun, and help out with no money!
- Be Real- We emphasized being who we really were in all phases of the company:
- We listed our Core Values in just about every email signature, advertisement for employment (we rarely had to advertise for employees because our culture was so strong, we usually had a list of candidates wanting to be a part), advertisement for customers, bid, proposal, business card, brochure, and so on and so forth…
- When we weren’t a good fit for a customer, we would tell them- no B.S.
- When we made a mistake, we owned up to it immediately and claimed it. One of my favorite thing to hear around the office was an employee telling a customer or prospect “We are not perfect. If you work with us long enough we will make a mistake, but we will always treat you fairly and do our best to fix it. If we were perfect, you wouldn’t be able to afford us, so it works out for everyone!” Transparency is key!
- Have Fun- Easy Peasy
- We played foosball at breaks- employees would even stay late to hang out with each other and play.
- We had parties at our shop and invited prospects, customers, employees and their families and even surrounding businesses that we liked. These would be complete with dunk tank, made up customer awards, contests, alcohol and general tomfoolery. Good times…
- We invited key employees of one of our strategic partners for a golf morning and got asked to leave around hole 15. Great story maybe I’ll tell in a future blog…
- We had Mexican employees that made a mean Carne Asada so we would BBQ one or two Fridays a month and their wives would make fresh guacamole and bring it along with the kids. Now that is livin!!
- Help Out- Another beaut of a Core Value
- We partnered with charitable businesses that lined up with us. For example, I had a contracting company that made large shade structures and we partnered with The Shade Foundation. You can check them out at www.shadefoundation.org if you like.
- We encouraged employees to give back to their communities and gave them paid time off for community service
- We held events open to employees and customers and prospects to serve the community
Hopefully at least a couple of these ideas resonate with you and you are already done reading and have run off to put them in place in your business. If you are still here, leave a comment with your best Core Values story!!