Entrepreneurs Should Be Visionaries, They Shouldn’t Also Be Required to Have All the Right Answers All the Time
No one has all the answers. The best companies work from the bottom up. If your company is going to prosper, you will constantly be hiring new employees. Only hire the best and then give them some latitude to make their own decisions even if some of those decisions don’t work out. If they make too many bad decisions, then you made a bad decision when you hired them thinking they were “A” Players when actually they were less accomplished than their resumes portrayed them out to be.
Companies that don’t encourage employees to contribute or provide harsh retribution when things don’t turn out as well as hoped for, may as well fire all their best people because sooner or later, mostly at an inopportune time, they will leave and most likely it will be to join a competitor.
You do not want employees that don’t care about the business and are only there to be told what to do so they can get a paycheck. Yes, every business has some of those but they are not the ones that advance the needle forward.
Make sure all of your employees have a chance to be heard. Encourage their expression and if you choose not to act on it, at least give them the courtesy of thanking them and telling them why you rejected it. Whether you wind up encouraging or discouraging your employees that will become part of your company’s culture.
The following was written to aid new and smaller companies adopt a set of values and principles that will help guide them into building a strong company culture that will give them the best chance to compete with older, more experienced, better established and better-financed competitors.
According to Webster’s, culture is:
a. The integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.
b. The customary beliefs, social forms and material traits of a racial, religious or social group; also: the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time.
c. The set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.
d. The set of values, conventions or social practices associated with a particular field, activity or societal characteristic.
A company’s Culture should not be confused with the company’s vision, mission statement, or its Human Resources Rulebook, though all those contribute to creating it and molding it.
Culture is what we do and say, the way we behave, the way we treat other employees, our customers, our affiliates and our community. In essence, it’s the company’s persona and how we project it both internally and externally.
A company’s culture directs its employees’ behavior. It influences their decision in the absence of an employee manual. Culture provides guidance when employees have to respond to an unforeseen event when there is no supervisor around to tell them what to do. It gives them confidence that they are likely to make the correct decision based on understanding the company’s values and principles. It empowers employees to make decisions on their own. Culture gives all employees, but particularly lower ranking ones, the power to make decisions as if they were the CEO when upper management is not present.
Continue reading Franklin Wolfson’s mini-series on Company Culture. Next up? Defining Your Company’s Mission and Core Values.