What is our Business DNA
Reflecting on your business and the motivations around the boardroom is one step closer to identifying what underpins the business. Only through establishing your values and cultures can you shape the business to work around that.
For example a parcels business whose core activity is moving packages driven by KPIs will breed a culture of employees that clock watch and count all day. There is no engagement through the company if those on the frontline are seen as just a mechanism in the bigger machine.
In the case of a parcels business you can create more engagement through involving staff in decision making and process management; are the business development team targeted on sales of awkward sized packages that can’t be moved through the operation?
The DNA of the business will reflect the owners principles and this could take many forms; I’m not suggesting what is right or wrong but you should at least understand the impact it has on your company culture.
If you pride yourself on customer service and providing a quality service you need to instil that ethos through staff management and engagement. The old adage or treat as you expected to be treated rings true through a service business; how do you achieve this?
Identify what you cultures and values you want to be known for and to become synonymous with your business.
Having clarified the culture and values you want to instil across the business highlight 3 or 4 and work with those; if you try and focus on too many then odds are you will lose focus and impact. Having defined these write down 2 sentences for each; one focussing on employees and the other on customers. For example take trust:
Customers – we want to be seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner who provide a quality product/service.
Staff – we trust our staff and give them autonomy and promote flexible working.
Now is the time to put your values into action; no point doing this work otherwise. If we stick with building trust as an example we can see what this looks like:
Customers – provide high levels of customer service and ensure we consistently deliver and be transparent about what you are doing.
Staff – run a staff engagement session to understand how they feel; if flexible working is the key re-visit HR policy and encourage this culture.
Whilst creating a culture that fits with your ethos is important there are some points you should bear in mind:
- Culture cannot be changed overnight; whether a business, a club or even a country it takes time. Too much change too quickly will create resistance;
- Understand why you are doing this, it should not be ‘everyone else is doing it so I suppose we should’;
- Some people will not agree with your values and you should expect this; it could mean difficult decisions needs to be made to ensure your company moves in the right direction;
- Don’t believe they hype around tech startUPs and try to imitate their cultures, dig under the service and all is not as it may seem. Do what is right for you and your business.
Change is never easy and it is important that you recognise it will take time and small actions can create dramatic changes in the long run; for example extra time at lunch for staff to head to the gym or free fruit bowls to encourage a healthy environment and so on.
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