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Does Your Company Have Culture?

By Paul Gustavson

When you think of your company, do you think of culture? Culture is what makes a company unique and relevant. Culture, according to author John Maxwell, “is the visualization of an organization’s values.” It’s more important than vision. When it comes to having a great company, there are seven behaviors that reflect a great culture which I have learned that I’d like to pass on to you.

  1. They Value People. What this means specifically is that people of value, value others. Every day we have an opportunity to look for and do things to add value to people, including encouraging others to add value to people as well. Whether it’s through a card, an email, a pat on the back, or just a passing word, these are all things that show value in others and reflect a strong culture.
  2. They Live Intentionally. This means living life with purpose and recognizing that everything worthwhile takes work. When there is strategy matched with execution, they climb that hill, showing themselves to be intentional. From intentionality comes consistency, and consistency compounds. Consistency doesn’t get recognized or rewarded in the beginning, but it does over the long haul. Intentionality over a consistent period of time shapes culture.
  3. They Exceed Expectations. A word that should make anyone cringe at their workplace is “average.” No one becomes successful by being average. It’s hard, or even impossible, to give average effort to people that we value. Exceeding expectations is the greatest means by which to ensure a company keeps their clients.
  4. They Grow Daily. Let’s face it. Each of us has the capacity for more. I once heard, “The only guarantee that tomorrow will be better is if we are growing today.” Love learning! It inspires others to grow. That growth mindset influences culture.
  5. They Equip People. While it is important that you grow personally and professionally, it is equally important to equip those around you. Equipping others requires a willingness on both you and your company’s part to make that small sacrifice to help others learn, understand, and grow. Everyone has an opportunity to equip their teammates. It can come through a developer’s book study, or it can be as simple as taking time to sit down with someone to lend your eyes and ears in tackling a problem. Equipping multiplies culture!
  6. They have a Positive Attitude. Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Thomas Jefferson once said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal.” If your goal is to grow and equip, to exceed expectations, to live intentionally, and to add value, it should be matched with a can‐do attitude. This means being a possibility thinker. A possibility thinker believes there’s always a solution! Your job is to find it.
  7. They are an Example. Leadership isn’t a position, it’s a posture. Each of us are leaders in our areas of strength. It is each person’s job to model leadership at all levels. It doesn’t matter if you are a new hire or part of the management team. People do what people see. Live out your mission in your sweet spot as you value people! When you do this, you strengthen your culture!

These are the seven behaviors that any of us can represent and demonstrate, day in and day out.  They are behaviors that create an amazing culture. Match these behaviors with your company’s core values. These behaviors and values will reflect your purpose, mission, and vision. They will define who your organization is not just in the present, but who you will be in the future. Culture, after all, is your organizations’ most visible asset.