Four steps to creating a culture that lasts.
The role of the leader or senior management is
to act as a governing force in the creation and
maintaining of the organizational culture. The
leader needs to create a culture otherwise it
will create itself!
First, create a mission, vision statement and
core values. For example my company's mission:
"HAMFLAP was created for one purpose-to instill
the principles of fun and laughter throughout
the business world; while creating superior quality
products and services for our customers and communities
through leadership, innovation and partnerships."
When creating the mission I asked myself where
I wanted the company to go and to what I wanted
us to adhere. This set the initial direction.
Next I needed the staff to see the mission and
make it visible and explain exactly what it meant
to us within our staff meetings. In addition,
the mission, or vision statement and core values
need to be posted on the website and within the
office. Allow your employees to help with the
creation process. This creates buy-in and makes
it their own. For example, my company's values
came through a collaborative effort: Innovative,
Creative, Professional, Inspiring, Compassionate,
Leaders, Dedicated and Committed. After getting
your core values figured out broadcast them on
some of your marketing material. This is not only
the foundation your culture is created upon, but
also it is the driving force.
Second, ignite yourself and your team in the
direction you plan to be heading. Vision casting
is an important element in creating a company's
culture. It's the end ideal and goal we are all
working towards. The vision comes from the leader's
experience, inspiration and analysis. When deciding
where the company needs to go one finds their
self already in the process of creating the culture.
By verbalizing clearly where the company is heading
this creates excitement.
Third, what gets recognized gets done and what
gets rewarded gets done first. Setting up an employee
appreciation program, celebration of a project
well done, year of service recognition, safety
awareness recognition, employee of the month,
or allowing for a picture board lets employees
feel more appreciated and creates a good atmosphere.
Setting realistic goals and tying team member's
goals into organizational goals allows for culture
to be developed. It is important to grow leaders
who not only understand the work, live the philosophy
and teach others, but strive to make the organization
a continuous learning environment.
Fourth, sustain and self-discipline. As a leader
it is your job to go back to the original blueprint
from time-to-time to make sure you are heading
in the desired direction. The team is the wheels
for moving the culture forward while the leader
steers. The nasty word nobody likes is self-discipline
but as a leader you need to be leading from the
forefront. Remember, as the point person, always
take the lead in creating the corporate culture.
Otherwise it creates itself, flounders, or develops
several sub-cultures. Leaders cast the vision,
create the mission, set the pace and live the
About the author:
Mike Ridpath was raised in Ferndale, Washington,
currently is a senior manager for Evergreen Team
Concepts Products and Services. He is responsible
for the development and implementation of multiple
projects at Evergreen Team Concepts and is on
the board of directors for the
Lean Leadership Institute.
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