A Little Bit Of “Culture” Can Make A Big Difference!

A man and a woman coworker smile and high five each other in the retail store front

A Little Bit Of “Culture” Can Make A Big Difference!

Have you ever sat back and wondered why businesses with pretty much all of the same facilities and ingredients often perform very differently?


My consideration on the reasons for the difference between a business that might be referred to as “good” and one that is referred to as “bad” is that the difference comes down to 3 things:

  1. Knowledge and Expertise,
  2. Systems and Efficiency, and
  3. Culture


I do not have any great research that determines what the relative percentage is for each item, but I do believe that “Culture” plays a much bigger part than most of us think.


Expertise: the skill, knowledge, judgment etc. of an expert


Efficiency: the production of a desired effect with the least effort or waste


Culture: the intangible element (that produces tangible results) of the way in which people interact with each other in a specific environment.


I am going to focus on Culture. An important element of culture is “values,” both at the corporate level and the individual level.


What are ‘values’, you ask?  These are the things that are generally important to us in life, in the business sphere, as well as health, relationships etc. Values are a two way street and conflicts and unfulfilled values is often the cause of conflict both in business and in relationships.


I highly recommend that you take the time to evoke your values in business. Once you have done that, make it a habit to reveal to your staff what your values are when you employ them.


When you do this, you are able to give a very clear picture of the sort of standards of personal conduct you value most in employees. This is also a good time to determine if the employee themselves are “on the same page”.


If your top 5 values are:

  • Honesty
  • Fun
  • Supportive
  • Integrity
  • Cleanliness


 A particular team members top 5 values are:

  • Money
  • Respect
  • Flexibility
  • Recognition
  • Creativity


You can quickly see that theirs do not match yours.


Now just because their values differ from yours does not always mean that there will be a problem. What must be recognized though is the differences and how you and your employee can meet those values.


You now have a motivated employee who knows exactly what is important to the you, and you, as boss, know what’s important to them.


Therefore, the probability is that your employee will establish great rapport with the customers who will in turn feel pleased with the product/customer service, which will lead to one thing, a happy customer that is likely to buy more and to buy more often. Hopefully it will all lead to higher profits.


Can values change?


Yes they can and so it is important to “check in” with your employees at the very least annually to make sure that you are still in step with each other. People’s circumstances change, so what was important last year may not be as important now.


If you do not already have clear picture of what your values are, take the time to do this:


Write down as many business values as you can identify on a piece of paper in single words or short phrases.  The first thought that comes into your head. Your list may be as long as 25 – 30 values or shorter. You should have no problem coming up with at least 10.


Then take a moment to clear you mind. Turn the page over and off the top of you head, mark the MOST IMPORTANT value at this time with a number 1 then continue through the list until you marked off the top 10 values. You may be surprised that the one you thought of say 6th in the list, may be your # 1. This is not uncommon.


Never forget that it is the differences in people, that can make all the difference in your business. Value them and get those “differences” to work for you.

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