Brand and culture. Two sides of the same coin. Your brand is the outside world’s perception of who you are. The only question is, is that perception the one you have intentionally put in place and nurtured, or is it the one your market has bestowed on you by default. Likewise, your culture is how your organization sees itself. How do we behave around here? What do we tolerate and what do we not tolerate? Again, your organization does have a culture. It’s only a question of whether it is there by design or by default. Unfortunately, for many small business owners, “culture” is a touchy-feely thing that has no direct impact on the bottom line. So it gets relegated to HR, or worse, gets ignored entirely. To learn why your company’s culture deserves your attention and how it will help your long-term growth and success, please read below.
Is this you? “I have a business to run here . . . no time to sit around singing Kumbayah and worrying about sissy stuff like our ‘culture.’”
Try telling that to the United States Marines: the strong, the proud, the few. The Marines arguably have the strongest culture of any organization on the planet. Once a Marine, always a Marine. If you’re a Marine, you may have retired from active duty 50 years ago, but you’re still a Marine. It’s part of your DNA. It’s the reason Marines operate with such cohesion and determination. Failure is not an option. Difficult missions are done every day, impossible missions take a little longer, but they get done too.
Or try telling that to Ritz Carlton Hotels. Ritz has a legendary reputation for world-class customer service . . . a culture of customer service that has been carefully nurtured and covers every desk clerk, bellman, and housekeeper. Ditto Nordstrom’s. Do you think they would have painstakingly created that culture of customer service if they didn’t believe it has a huge impact on their bottom line? Apple has a culture of creativity, of being the guys who are the first out with the next whiz-bang, gotta-have-it technology.
Think about it and you’ll come up with many more companies who have risen to great success driven by a strong, vibrant culture. So this is definitely not “sissy stuff” that is undeserving of your attention. It is, in fact, the stuff success is made of. It’s what gives your company focus and allows you to outperform your competition. When you get this right, you get:
• A better track record of hiring and retaining the right people.
• Customers who are better served, and therefore, more loyal.
• More consistency setting and achieving goals.
• A more focused, cohesive, team-oriented workforce.
So what defines the culture of your organization? If you can’t answer that question, then what should be the culture of your organization? What behaviors and attitudes do your people need to hold in common to propel you to the top of your market? If you need help to figure that out, or if you need help figuring out how to indoctrinate your organization in the culture you want, call me. We should talk.