Culture is a hot buzzword among corporate and entrepreneurial companies alike. It’s what everyone is striving for, what brings on the loyalty, what attracts and keeps the really awesome employees. Culture is a balancing act between many elements of a company. It requires careful execution at each level.
This is especially true for entrepreneurial companies, where what’s going on is the building of a business as well as a culture. Corporate culture must be led, nurtured, constantly monitored and adjusted. Much like a “culture” in a petri dish, it requires that you combine the right ingredients, in the right way, to ensure that what you grow is not an aberration of your intentions.
An entrepreneurial culture is what many companies hope for. Certainly, in the fast-moving and competitive technology industry, an entrepreneurial culture is what most organizations should strive for. How do you foster this culture and make it thrive? An organizational culture does not grow on its own. It must be nurtured. An organization’s culture must be deliberately cultivated through concerted action including modeling, structure, constant communication, and positive reinforcement.
Great company cultures don’t happen on their own. They’re the result of great leadership, and a conscious effort to make everyone on the team feel engaged and important. Here’s how you can create and nourish the work culture in your company.
Lead by example. Simple!
Like all business, leadership is the starting point. People tend to follow their leader. The values and priorities in an employee is guided by the leader. Sounds simple, but it’s true. The senior executives set the tone for what the company should be doing, what the organizational values should be, and how people should act. From a business leader’s perspective, that’s the starting point of driving an entrepreneurial culture – embrace it and model it.
Talk about it, reward, and encourage it. Remember that effective leadership is a delicate balance. An over-authoritarian workplace discourages people from using their own initiative. An overly democratic environment lacks focus to keep the company moving toward its goals. Successful companies ensure their executive teams constantly demonstrate their value, productivity, and the open flow of ideas.
A Culture of empowerment
Create the environment where people act like leaders. To act entrepreneurially, people must feel empowered to take the lead and create positive change. Think about what an entrepreneur does – strategically analyzes market trends, identifies opportunities, calculates risks, makes decisions, and inspires others to follow. That’s the goal – to create the environment when your staff will do this in their day-to-day activities. Treat people with respect. This is a very simple premise, which threads through each and every complicated issue that can arise within a company. Respect and trust provide the necessary base for a vibrant and sustainable corporate culture. Make time for people to get to know each other and the company. This will make the bond and caring between you employees stronger.
Communicate and talk to people
This can be explained in three words. Communicate. Communicate and Communicate. It’s the base of any leadership. Don’t get too occupied with your work that you forget which direction you’re going in. Constantly remind your people about the vision and direction. When it comes to communication, people want to feel like they are getting the important information. They also want to hear that their concerns and ideas are being heard. Create an open environment by either creating an open conversation channel on SLACK or PODIO or any internal workspace platform your company uses. Encouraging people to openly ask questions about how to makes things better. These communication habits create a powerful empowering environment.
Building an entrepreneurial culture requires continuous effort. You wont be able to achieve it overnight. Make sure your entrepreneurial vision is part of your senior management discussions. It should also be a topic for managers’ performance discussions with their teams. Again, the entrepreneurial culture must be cultivated. It is the result of a constant effort by the company to drive innovation, productivity, and success. Let the team build itself. Within that safe, comfortable, open environment, let employees grow together without being made to. Don’t forget the little things. Culture is made up of many small actions that, when put together, create something larger than the sum of the parts. There are many things a CEO can do to make employees feel a part of the company. Some are just common courtesies: hallway conversations, saying “hello” in the morning, opening doors, asking after people’s families and partners.
We all learn from life stories.
Lets take an example of a recent company I visited and got a chance to meet Mareike Schrankel, Organizational Development Expert Trivago. For those of you who travel a lot, Trivago is not a new name. For people who aren’t familiar with it – Trivago is an online hotel-search platform – but not just any platform, it is the largest online hotel-search in the world! Established in 2005 in Düsseldorf, Germany this platform has grown to cater more than 50 million users every month, helping them find hotels that are ideal for them.
On asking her what makes the employees at Trivago achieve their goals, she replies,” It’s hands down their “combine fun and work” culture that has made them an ideal workplace for the newest generation of employees. The organization has successfully established a work culture that is indomitably giving the millennial just want they want: flexibility (too much of it as one of the former employees complained), the chance to be original, focusing on finding solutions, communicating openly, and an equal opportunity to prove themselves and create a big impact.”
Just like Trivago, there are several other organizations that are popular with the millennia’s. From these basics, you will grow in your petri dish a strong, healthy culture that will allow you, your company and your employees to flourish.