Cultures are seasonal. Some seasons are amazing and others are flat. The best thing I have done is understand the winds and direct the sails to catch momentum
Do you want to see change this year? Real change?
A close business colleague, Matt Hyatt, recently asked me the following eight questions for a project he was working on. I submit the answers for your benefit and for those you lead.
1. How do you define a great company culture?
Great company culture exists when the DNA of the company is connected with the vision/values and ultimately the hiring and roles of employees. This secure culture produces a healthy atmosphere where people know who they are and what they are to do.
2. What is the single biggest obstacle to creating a great company culture, and how do you overcome that obstacle?
Insecurity. Insecurity of the future and of the leaders and their futures.
3. What are the most important actions every leader must practice to ensure a healthy company culture?
Know and lead themselves first. When the employees see you as self aware and willing to grow and change then they are more likely to do so themselves.
4. What are some of the things you’ve done to promote a great culture in your company?
I believe cultures are seasonal. There are some seasons that are amazing and others that are flat. I think the best thing I have done is understand the winds and direct the sails to catch momentum.
5. If you subscribe to the notion that a company’s culture is constantly in a state of motion, improving or deteriorating from day to day, what can you do to get it back on track when you feel it’s faltering?
I know what not to do – force it. I have tried that. When there is no wind in the sails I spend more time improving the ship and not scrambling for wind. Recently I have noticed some ambiguity and so I have worked on getting structural clarity with our leadership team and our board though it may be a bit flat in the day-to-day. However, I can sense the momentum coming so I let it play out and make sure we are ready to handle the wind that is about to come.
6. How do you find employees that are aligned with your company culture?
I often use the concept of DNA, Skeleton, Skin. The DNA is the Mission and performance of a person. We only hire people who match both. The Skeleton is understanding what type of company people have been working for. This is crucial. Most of my bad hires have come from a skeletal system. For instance, if you have always worked for a not-for-profit business you will have a hard time with the pace in our for-profit business and so on. The skin is simply the look and feel of a person. When all three align you have a win.
7. What do you ask job candidates to understand how they might impact your company culture?
I always start by asking, “who are you?” It tells me a lot. If they start by listing what they have done I realize that they may not have done the homework of understanding who they are as a person. It is a telling question which normally tells me if they are a person of impact or not.
8. What do you do about employees that seem to have a negative impact on the culture of your company?
I let them go. Cancer doesn't get better when it remains in the body. It is best to eradicate what may kill the body.
Jeremie Kubicek is the Founder of GiANT Impact, co-founder of GiANT Partners, and author of “Making Your Leadership Come Alive: 7 Actions to Increase Your Influence”