Every company strives to have a great company culture but very few people really understand what it means to have a great culture.
People tend to forget that culture is all about who you are as a team and how things get done within a company.
When starting a new company or business, you would always want to start off on the right foot. To help you with your company culture, we have compiled a list of the most common mistakes to avoid when building your company culture.
Adopting other company’s culture
The most common mistake people make in building their own culture is taking other company’s culture and using it for your own company. In other words, stealing the culture. While it may work for some, it usually does not for the rest.
Focus on what your company needs and are aiming for instead looking into what other companies are doing. Remember, what works for another company may not work with yours!
Build a culture without planning
One of the mistakes to avoid when you are building your company culture is starting out a culture without planning. A company culture is a matter of determining what is important for your company; setting the tone and direction. It is all about your actions and the behaviours that you and your team will and will not endure.
Avoid this mistake by figuring out who you are as a company and what you value. Once you have established the ‘ground rules’, start cultivating them right away so your team can do the same.
Plans are nothing; planning is everything.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Away most of the time
Your presence as a business owner has the greatest influence on how people experience the work environment. If you are absent most of the time because you are in meetings or away on some conferences, you are missing the main opportunity to shape the culture and environment of the company.
It does not mean that you do not head to a conference to promote you newly formed business. You need to work a little harder at being in the office most of the time.
Lack of communication
Another mistake to avoid when you are building your company culture is having the lack of communication. To establish a strong business relationship, effective communication practices must be established from the start. Make sure your team knows what is expected of them.
It does not matter how minor or major the lack of communication is, poor communication will definitely strain the productivity of the company. Being aware of such problem is the first step toward solving them. Remember that positive communication is the key to a positive culture.
“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”
– Paul J. Meyer
As a leader you set the tone of the company. Be watchful of your mood and what type of energy you are spreading to your team. Most of us would like to be known as being a friendly person or a colleague who brings positive energy to the office.
Spreading negativity, even if unintentional, creates an unhealthy culture that severely hampers results. So try to banish negativity in your company before it starts spreading.
Long-term and short-term goals
Another mistake to avoid when you are building your company culture is not having goals, regardless if it is long-term or short-term. Goals motivate us to be focused and productive.
However, you need to learn how to prioritise your goals properly as it is an important skill that will help you and your company success. Take note that great leaders balance short-term thinking with long- term planning and thinking.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
– Tony Robbins
Make poor hiring decisions
Speaking of your team, building a great company culture is impossible if you keep making bad hiring decisions. During your hiring process, you may have found a brilliant candidate with the right skill set to move your company forward, but what happens if that person does not work well with others?
If you had to choose between skills and cultural fit, remember that you can train anyone for skills; however you cannot train someone to change the characteristics that define them.
“When hiring key employees, there are only two qualities to look for: judgement and taste. Almost everything else can be bought by the yard.”
– John W. Gardner
Implement meaningless or illogical rules
Rules are NOT meant to be broken, or are they? Another mistake to avoid when you are building your company culture is having rules that do not make sense.
When setting up ground rules for your company, do not forget to ask if there is a good reason for them. Examples of rules and guidelines would be the office dress code or the usage of mobile phones in the office.
Overlooking social needs
Finally, the last mistake to avoid when you are building your company culture is not being concern about the teams’ social needs. Great leaders encourage friendships at work as it helps to build a family style culture.
Employees do not want to just show up at work and leave. They want a meaningful work experience. So try to organise a couple of simple weekly work activities such as Friday evening sundowners.
You can also read our post on effective employee engagement ideas.
Culture will emerge regardless of your actions. Most leaders want a great place to work. Building a thoughtful, engaging company culture that accurately reflects who your company is and what it is all about is not easy, but the returns on that investment can be enormous.
Avoid these mistakes if you want a company culture that achieves the results that you want and needs.
Best of luck!