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That’s the problem with building the culture of a company, owners and leaders think their job is done when they paste their culture statement on the wall right or in front of their front door.

No way..! You are just getting started!

There are many existing myths with culture. I want to go through a few of these before I go into how we build the culture of an organization.

Myth#1

Your Culture is not fancy words that belong in the dictionary. When companies use big fancy words like “Accountability”, or “Integrity” or even the word “Excellence”, leaders must realize that some employees won’t understand what that means, or even worse, they will have their own interpretation of the word. And most of the time, that’s the problem. What leaders then do, is to use an oxford definition to explain the meaning of the word, and it gets even colder (if you ask me). These cultures (as defined by the dictionary), has nothing to do what you (leader) want to enable in your teams.

“The culture of your organization is best in your own words, words that you use, that will describe clearly how you want your employees to treat each other.”

Don’t use big hairy audacious words that people need to second guess.

Myth#2

Culture is definitions of values important to me (owner or leader) and should be important to everyone else.

Big myth.

“Everyone understands different words differently.” I did this exercise in my seminar and told everyone to close their eyes, and when I said a word, I want them to catch the picture in their head, and use one word to describe what they see (in their head). I said the word, “CAT”. When I got random people to shout out the word they had. “Furry”!  “White”! I even got the word, “Dog”!

People understand big nominalized words differently. When you say “communicate”, people understand communicate. When you say COMMUNICATION, the clear meaning can be left to the individual understanding of it.

The best way to display and make culture understood is to describe the behaviour that is attached to the particular culture. This means that leaders and entrepreneurs can best train the culture by describing the behaviours and actions that describe COMMUNICATION, or TEAMWORK.

One of the best ways I realized to coach a culture in a team, is to also explain what it is NOT, i.e. what is TEAMWORK not, what is COMMUNICATION not.

Culture is KEY in a business. The majority of leaders and entrepreneurs don’t invest sufficient time to determine a clear culture, let alone coach and train effectively. Not taking proper responsibility on the culture of our business can result in a team forming their own diverse culture which will be a mesh of values that multiple employees bring into your company.

Like it or not, each employee carries their own set of values, i.e. family values, organizational values, past boss baggage/values, or past politicking trauma, into your business, and if we don’t take the necessary steps to determine a healthy culture in our business, we will only have to REACT to people issues, beyond having a good business.

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