Three Constants in Company Culture
A common business truth that I’ve witnessed is that companies that embrace who they are, have the most satisfied employees and the happiest customers.
Key to brand building is being true to your company and your culture. What is inside your company, shows up outside. You’re not fooling anyone when you try to be something or someone you’re not.
When you go all in and embrace your identity as a company it opens up opportunities to create interesting products and share ideas that are core to your business. It also reduces friction during the customer experience. If you’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing, people will notice your teeth.
There are three constant variables of company culture that I’ve observed.
The company takes on the personality of the founder, no matter what.
If the CEO is energetic and engaged—the company is also usually full of energy.
If the CEO is disorganized and a poor communicator—the company is disorganized and has poor communication.
If the CEO is tired and checked out—the team is tired and unengaged.
The success of a business is tightly connected to its leadership. Don’t underestimate the impact that a CEO or founder has on the company culture, energy, approach, and strategy. The most successful businesses I’ve worked with have self-aware and reflective leaders who acknowledge their shortcomings, fill gaps with talented people and encourage open and honest communication with their teams.
The company has to take a position.
No business can be everything to everyone. A lack of focus and desire to generalize product and service positioning creates confusion and is easily ignored.
If leadership isn’t willing to go all in on a market and take a position regarding their beliefs and ideas, your business will be blocked. If you’re a company that defines your business strategy in response to competitors or really loud clients, the core of the business will become unstable.
Without clear business beliefs, employees don’t have a foundation to stand on or stand for. No one is looking for a path to ordinary. If your strategy is to do what everyone else is doing, that’s ordinary.
Trying to be something you’re not is a losing strategy.
A company story that manipulates the reader or the customer creates a bad experience. If your business is built on half-truths about who you are and what you do, it’s going to be hard to retain customers and employees.
No one wants to be ordinary. Go all in. It’s not the easiest path, but it’s the most rewarding.