How to create a strong company culture

W5 Strong Company Culture

John Nieuwenburg

John Nieuwenburg has been a professional business coach since 2004. Prior to becoming a coach, he held executive positions with Tip Top Tailors and BC Liquor Stores. In 2019, MacKay CEO Forums awarded him with Canada’s CEO Trusted Advisor Award in the Small Business category. Since becoming a coach, John has worked with over 350 clients, taking them through a systematic process that helps them feel organized, confident and in control of their businesses.

You’re only as good as your people.

How much effort are you putting into them?

In the business coaching community, we sometimes say that “you don’t get the culture you want – you get the culture you deserve.”

Business owners often look at culture as a “nice to have” – the cherry on top of the cake – something that isn’t critical.

The truth is that your company culture is foundational to your business success.

Your culture determines how you treat each other – and how you treat your customers.

Get it right and you’ll find everything else becomes so much easier – and many of your business problems will go away.

7 ways improving your culture can boost your business performance

A great business culture can help you:

  1. Recruit and retain the best employees
  2. Increase productivity and profitability
  3. Deliver better customer service – which can increase sales and loyalty
  4. Develop a strong company reputation and image
  5. Install a stronger sense of teamwork and collaboration
  6. Tap into your team’s innovation and creativity
  7. Improve communication and relationships among employees

If you want a better culture, you will need to actively cultivate it.

Here’s how.

Create a written statement of culture

You can look at this as a set of rules that guide behaviour – like the 10 commandments for your business.

Once the rules are set in stone and followed, you can avoid “context” issues (how we’re talking about something) and focus on the “content” of the discussion instead (what we’re talking about.)

Here are some examples that you might include:

  • We always speak positively about my fellow team members and our clients.
  • We never use or listen to sarcasm.
  • We seek first to understand, then be understood.

Borrow from the best (you don’t have to reinvent the wheel)

If you’re looking for an instruction manual on how to do culture, read the late Tony Hsieh’s fantastic book: Delivering Happiness

As the founder of Zappos, Tony achieved massive success through developing a customer service focused culture.

You can read Zappos’ 10 core values and even download their oath of employment here:

Another great template is the Four Agreements. This excellent book by don Miguel Ruiz proposes 4 simple rules to live by:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

The 4 agreements can work well as a written statement of culture.

One of my clients adopted these and turned them into a poster that they hung in their office to remind everyone.

Use your culture to set the rules of the game so that you can play better as a team

I can teach you how to pass a puck, take a wrist shot or slap shot, body check, and skate forwards and backwards.

But if I don’t tell you the Rules of Hockey, you can’t play hockey!

The same is true with your team.

They can have all the skills they need to be able to do the job. But they can’t play together unless they agree on a common set of rules.

Most business owners would find that many of their business problems would disappear if they made “establishing a great culture” their focus.

Like many things, changing your company culture can be challenging

If you’d like some help making the transition, let’s talk about coaching.

You can book a call here: Book 15 minutes with John

The Ultimate Guide to Scaling Your Business

w5 what does it mean to scale your business

How to grow your business without sacrificing time freedom

This post is part of my Ultimate Guide to Scaling Your Business. Visit the guide homepage to get my best advice and coaching exercises to help you:

  • Develop systems and processes to free up your time
  • Hire and manage a great team to run your business (mostly) without you
  • Make the mindset changes that enable you to grow your business bigger - faster than you dreamed possible