One of the biggest delusions among start-up CEO’s is that they have the most awesome culture on the planet.
Unlimited vacations, dogs in the office, beer on Friday, softball on Tuesday and a rock climbing wall in the warehouse are not the same as a great culture.
Anyone who has worked at more than one company knows the difference between an engaged work force versus one that just limps along. Great leaders have a way of unlocking the best in their people and when everything is firing on all cylinders it’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.
Take the following quiz from “All In” by Gostick and Elton and rate yourself and your organization. If you have lots of check marks then it’s time to renew your vows to do better.
The Dysfunctional Culture Quiz
On the flip side, here’s what a great culture looks like to me:
We have dynamic and engaged leadership
A vibrant culture is organic and evolving. It’s fuelled and inspired by leaders that are actively involved and informed about the realities of the business. They genuinely care about the company’s role in the world and are passionately engaged. They are great communicators and motivators who set out a clearly communicated vision, mission, values, and goals and create an environment for them to come alive.
We truly live our values
It’s one thing to have beliefs and values spelled out in a Powerpoint presentation. It’s another thing to have genuine and memorable beliefs that are alive and modelled throughout the organization daily. It’s important that departments and individuals are motivated and measured against the way they model these values. And, if you want a values-driven culture, hire people using the values as a filter.
Everyone takes responsibility
Strong cultures empower their people. They recognize their talents, and give them a very clear role with responsibilities they’re accountable for.
We really celebrate both successes and failures
Most companies that run at speed often forget to celebrate their victories both big and small. They rarely have time, or the humility, to acknowledge and learn from their failures. Celebrate both your victories and failures in your own unique way, but share them and share them often.
If you are having trouble hanging on to people, have an honest look at what it’s like to work for you. Great cultures are about respect, leadership, opportunity and yes, fun. Start with the stuff that really matters. Then go ahead and order a ping pong table.