Strategy   |   May 5, 2015

Your Culture Defined - Is It What You Want?

A 4 minute read by Tom Ellis, CEO/Founder

Culture is very difficult to define, much yet build. Culture was once defined to me as "what your employees tell their neighbors about your company while at a cookout when someone asks where they work."

I have studied "Culture" from many great leaders - from Jack Welch, to Mark Zuckerberg, to Daniel Pink.  Some talk about pushing your employees to produce more than others. Some push "Failing Harder" and pushing yourself to the limit without fear of making mistakes as that is how you grow. Some talk about building "intrinsic motivators" into your culture and ensuring that your employees are feeling like they are accomplishing something.

There is no right answer. Your culture is what it is. How do your employees talk about your company at the neighborhood BBQ?

Swarm believes that culture is something that cannot be defined with a mission statement and a list of "Company Values." It is how you act, how you make decisions, how you treat people, and how you make a difference. If you want to build a culture, come up with the single idea that makes your company what it is. It should be simple, easy to understand, and bought into by your team. Then build the experience you want your team to have in your company around that simple idea.  

Imagine how you want your employees to feel on a daily basis. Should they feel motivated? Afraid? Confident? Empowered? Able to be creative and contribute ideas? The work environment and the experiences you create for your team will contribute to this perspective for each person at your company. Based on the experience you want your team to have, think about the little things you can do in your employee reviews, company outings, time spent around the water cooler, or in your weekly meetings to build the experience that you want?

Culture is often more important to our companies than our products, pricing, customer service, etc. How you treat your team will be reflected in each of these things. Having a good culture will allow you to keep people longer, demand better work, and keep your clients happy.

How do your employees describe your company?