What strikes me first when I think of the word ‘Culture’ is a mindset that is shaped over a period of time with collective manifestations of a vision that inculcates openness, honesty, integrity and teamwork and it takes uniform conscious effort. This could be influenced by certain perspectives & learnings that we imbibe in our personal experiences, the key objective being to make a working environment conducive to freedom for creative thinking while being accountable for the growth of the organisation which could also be attributed to self-growth.
I am sharing six points, that to me, need to be kept in mind while building an organisational culture –
Define and Align
It all starts with defining what kind of culture we are looking at building and if everyone understands the values attached to the vision.
It is good to acknowledge that culture is a process. It is to be cooked on low heat while revisiting time to time while staying on the course is important relentlessly.
Good story tellers are hard to find and I have always wondered, like evangelizers, why we don’t see more of designations such as ‘Chief Story Telling Officer’ at organisations. Let’s admit that not everyone is an enchanting story teller and what we need today is someone who is able to make their customers or audience believe in a dream or a journey. The most tough and emotional moments need to be part of that story whether it is internal or external stakeholders.
One important part of building a culture is to understand what kind of recognition will matter for majority of the work force. I prefer doing this exercise as a team meeting. For example, between discount vouchers, paid holiday, cash or certificate. And likewise; what resonates deeper what kind of achievements. Also, the success metrics need to be clearly defined. Say, in the case of Voice of Customer (VoC) what stood out. When team feels more belonged and when they look forward to being recognised, it boosts their morale and the belief in how they are doing what they are doing.
Building a culture, not a job
Perhaps the most challenging part is onboarding the ‘right’ people. So as to reinforces the desired value to keep inculcating the ethos of the organisation it is important to have people with a mindset to contribute to nurturing the business and business relationships. Easier said than done, hence I always recommend to have a structured interview process with structured set of questions to evaluate both skill and psychology. Post that, it is equally important to make the onboarding experience and the first day of the employee something to remember through life.
Like we want our experiences to be class apart, we would also want the experiences that we enable for our internal and external stakeholders to be class apart as well. The ‘way’ we have conversations has the potential to destroy or build on relationships. And ofcourse, we all want to build. Hence, paying more attention on how we shape up experiences in our interactions definitely helps. As we say, leave people better than you found them.
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