Couple weeks ago I had lunch with a entrepreneur friend from London who was visiting Prague for couple days. After 2 hours of great conversations I apologised myself that I have to leave. She was surprised when I explained that our cleaning lady leaves for vacation so we have all company meeting. Why did we do it? Was it at all necessary? Is this really such a big thing?
Not that it would be some kind of operational crisis, you can always replace anybody. This was not the reason why we all gathered. We wanted to say thank you for good job, wish her a safe journey and give her small bonus. It was very important for me and also for our company culture. Events like this one make it stronger and are reinforcing our company values.
Why Is Company Culture So Important?
I strongly believe that company culture can and will be your competitive advantage and a key factor for long term success of your company.
In this case “fish smells from the head” as old Slovak saying goes. Our company culture and its values are reflection of my values. In bigger companies every manager is directly responsible for his/her team culture and values and higher you go more influence you have on whole company culture. To clarify, I am not talking about values hanging on posters in hallways or in CEO office. I am talking about values you live on a daily basis.
How To Build Your Company Culture?
First of all, you need to start thinking about values you have and values you want your company to have. Write down all values you have and then go through them and think about their importance for your business and how it would influence it. How would it work for your company? How would they show in everyday life? Can you somehow measure those?
For example, these are values at Chefparade that we strive to live and work by:
Trust; Respect; Personal Responsibility; Ownership; Proactivity; Getting Things Done; Personal Growth
Everybody is measured and rewarded based on these values. Our farewell event with cleaning lady is based on respect. We respect everyone and everyone’s contribution – be it our cleaning lady, receptionist or CEO. We treat everyone same – based on results and values.
Once you are clear on the values you want your company to have then you have to let your people know and make sure they will become part of your and their everyday life. Company values must be part of every conversation, every decision and every process. Only then you can build strong company culture.