What does it take to build a great culture in your company?
First you need to know where you’re going – and we covered that in How to Define Your Achievable Strategy in the next 15 Minutes,
Part of it is knowing why you’re doing it – the mission behind your company – “The first thing you do is teach the person to feel that the vision is very important and nearly impossible. That draws out the drive in the winner.”
– Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid
Corporate culture is all about answering the question:
“How will we treat each other on this road together?”
What stories do you tell? What do you celebrate? This is something that I saw done very well at Marriott International.
They intentionally told the story of the 9 seat root beer stand that Mr. Marriott and his wife started in downtown DC, and how the company grew.
More than only being about the past, they actually built a database of stories where employees were celebrated for demonstrating the values that Marriott says they want to see.
The stories they told were about times when team members were selfless and thought of others, because Marriott is in the hospitality business – the business of caring for the needs of others. They knew it was important, and taught leaders in the company to be sure that they TOLD those stories to their teams, even teams that didn’t directly work with guests.
What stories do you tell? Are they stories of a hero who pulled an all-nighter to deliver at the last minute? Are they about the time that a team member let you down?
Are they the stories about how someone served a customer in a surprising and meaningful way?
How a team sacrificed for another team to do something important?
You choose the culture where you work – what do you want to see happen? What stories will you tell today? What stories will you write down today? What stories will you hear, will resonate with you, and then purpose to tell tomorrow?
The culture will happen with or without you. Unless you’re intentional about it, the stories will be about the mundane and negative. You can make them be about what is special, meaningful, and rich. And you can have fun telling them, too.
Telling good stories to shape your culture is an important part of Raising Your Game.