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Why Company Culture Still Matters (and How to Make Yours Better)

Apr 27, 2020

Happy relaxed young woman sitting in her kitchen with a laptop in front of her stretching her arms above her head and looking out of the window with a smile-1

Company culture still matters because people matter. Morale and performance matter ― how do you excel at one without excelling at the other?

Whether you're a CEO, small-business owner, manager, or individual contributor, here's how you can positively influence your company culture. 

If you're the Owner/CEO, you create company culture

"Leadership right now requires openness and acknowledgment that we’re all people going through something really hard, and we need to feel like we’re in it together.”
Sara Rodell, Founder of Loop & Tie, quoted in Forbes

Simply put, show a human side. Maybe you can't change the realities, but you can share in the hardship. You can give your employees hope by ...

  • how you lead
  • how and when you share crucial information  
  • how you sacrifice for the greater good
  • how you carry yourself
  • how you connect with those around you

Someone asked me recently, "Can company culture be maintained remotely?" Yes. But  should it? That depends on the health of your culture.  

This is your opportunity to maintain your company culture and/or improve it. 

If you're a manager, you model company culture

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
― George S. Patton

Yes, lead by example. Hold your team to a high standard. But trust your team. Treat them like the adults and professionals they are. Nothing demotivates faster than singsongy reminders to "Do a good job." 

I have known at least two managers who said those exact words. It did not go over well.

Instead try some variation of "I see the good work you're getting done, and I applaud you. What do you need to make your work even more effective?" 

Worried about being too touchy-feely in (virtual) meetings? Don't be. More than likely, your team will appreciate genuine shows of concern for their well-being.

Who isn't carrying a heavy load right now? All the more reason to turn up the volume on self-care and encourage your team to do the same.

In the words of a friend and former boss of mine, “If Americans would walk briskly for 30 minutes, four times per week, there would be no health-care crisis within six months.” Feel free to tweet that.

If you're an individual contributor, you influence and elevate company culture

“Note to self: Every time you were convinced you couldn’t go on, you did.”
― Unknown

You may not be able to manage up ― but you can manage yourself. You can build trust and credibility within your team. How? A few examples: 

  • Do more than is expected
  • Take initiative (the opposite of this is what my mother used to call "being in your seat when the bell rings" ― she strongly preferred people who took initiative; she still does)
  • Share credit
  • Pitch in when it's not expected
  • Meet deadlines on time, without being asked twice
  • Show up for meetings on time, prepared and ready to listen/contribute
  • Aim for small improvements every day in how you get your work done
  • Pass along information or insights that would be helpful to your boss and co-workers

What will you do with this hand you've been dealt?

I don't have any magic answers. But it strikes me as an urgent question. As best we can, let's do something remarkable ― something we'll remember and benefit from long after this chapter is behind us. 

Speaking of questions: What else would you add to why company culture still matters/how to make it better? What other topics would you like to see covered?

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