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Why culture is everything: 7 questions to ask about your workplace’s culture and values

By Prime Advisory, 13 June 2016

by Michelle Durham

Ever had one of those days when nothing in your business seems to make sense?

The numbers look okay. In fact, they look quite good. And you certainly see the effort everyone’s putting in. But something’s holding your business back that you just can’t put your finger on.

You put on extra staff to accommodate the growth in your business. But right now you seem to be troubleshooting more than ever, and they seem like a hindrance rather than a help. In fact, you find yourself yearning for the old days when you were a one-man band.

In many service industries, time sheets can help identify the undercurrents of the business—which clients are profitable, which staff are productive, what activities need more investment, and so on. Do you have anything in place to identify the undercurrents in your business? And what about your team—the core of your business. What have you got in place to measure the impact they’re having?

It’s impossible to monitor how your team interacts with every client or customer, let alone how they interact with each other. But you can put some simple strategies in place to minimise any impact they’re having on your business’ performance.

I recently wrote about Key People of Influence (KPIs), and how addressing them first can have a major impact on overall performance. But now I’d like to take the concept a step further and talk about the rest of your staff.

How are you addressing their intrinsic values? Are they aligned with your business’ intrinsic values? Do you even know what your business’ intrinsic values are?

In other words, why do you do what you do?

It’s these kinds of questions that can reveal the undercurrent of potential issues in your business. So ask yourself: When was the last time you thought long and hard about:

  1. your business values?
  2. why you do what you do?
  3. your staff’s values?
  4. why they do what they do?
  5. the alignment of those values?
  6. how much aligning those values would improve performance?
  7. who sits where and does what?

You could have the best business model in the world. But if you don’t know why you do what you do—what drives you to get out of bed every day—your business will struggle. And if your team doesn’t know it, and agree/buy in to it, your business’ performance and profit may begin to stagnate.

You’ve already invested heavily in them with training and the like. And you always make a point of acknowledging them whenever their anniversary comes around? Isn’t that enough?

Obviously not. So how do you fix the problem?

Success comes from making an effort. And most people will put extra effort into the things they’re passionate about. You need to be passionate about why you’re running the business as much as what you do there. And the people you work with—staff, partners, even clients and customers to an extent—need to share that passion.

Without that incentive and shared passion the negative undercurrents will start to build, and everyone will begin to wonder what they’re actually working towards day after day—including you. And while being paid is great, it’s not the incentive they’re looking for.

Recently I was lucky enough to hear Tristan White speak about “Why Culture is Everything”. A lot of what he said resonated with me as I thought about the various businesses I’ve been involved with during my career, and the impact people have made on performance. He also put an interesting spin on the role of CEO by giving the acronym a new definition: Chief Enthusiasm Officer.

Are you your business’ Chief Enthusiasm Officer? Would your staff think so?

Enthusiasm and hard work got your business to where it is today. Now it’s time to get everyone in your team working together with the same enthusiasm.

Get it right, and you’ll find your business and your team’s happiness growing together.

Have you lost track of your business values? Have you forgotten why you do what you do? Then why not spend a day with us to re-establish your business plan—and your ‘Why’? Get in touch with us today, and together we’ll get your business back on track and making sense again.


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