How long should you work on culture?

culture pictureYou’re always working on culture, but you have choices to make if you want to ensure your work leads to the right culture for your company.

Culture is what you stand for. Culture is what you want to accomplish. Culture is also how you want to get there. Culture starts at the top but is only successful when it is lived throughout the organization

“If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos.

How to start your culture – Define it clearly.

Start with the mission – why are you doing what you do, what does your company or team look like with it is working at full success. Use action words in the present tense as if you are doing them already. Southwest Airline’s mission is to, “Connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, low-cost air travel.”

Next comes the outcome of the mission – the vision. For Southwest that is, “To become the World’s Most Loved, Most Flown, and Most Profitable Airline.”

Then is the small number of steps you will consistently execute that will bring the mission and vision – the values. Here are some of Southwest’s values, Work Hard, Follow The Golden Rule, Have FUN, Safety and Reliability.”

“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” – Jack Welch

How to spread it through the organization – Measure it consistently.

Achieving a successful culture is like any other endeavor. What gets measured gets done. Only through regular reminders and follow up will your culture become something that is spread throughout your organization.

“Culture lives on when it’s taught and practiced. Teach your employees your culture and let them share what they’ve learned.” –

How to keep it alive – Reward it frequently.

If you want your team to know that the culture is important, you have to celebrate it when you see it. Be specific in your praise. Not just thank you, but thank you for living our culture by doing a certain act in a certain way.

“When you lavish praise on people, they flourish.” – Richard Branson