Don’t put the cart before the horse. A famous proverb that many of us have heard or uttered a time or two, reminding us not to mess with the natural order of things. When applied to the concept of organizational culture, some ask what comes first – the business plan or the culture? The answer may surprise you.
When starting a new business, we have a vision of what we want it to be, and what we want to be along with it. If we are intentional about our culture, these identities inevitably shape our values, our mission statement, and the culture itself. They are the driving force behind our decisions as we put our business plan into action, and help us stay grounded during times of uncertainty. So, very often our culture has been defined before we even hire our first employee.
In the most recent episode of The Culture Podcast – Growing a Business With Culture in Mind, we had the pleasure of speaking with Julie Lowe, Chief Culture Officer at TorchLight Hire – a recruiting firm focused on marketing and communications. As one of the first employees of TorchLight Hire, Julie knows the importance of culture – especially as an organization grows and evolves. As change happens, it is critical to ensure the organization’s culture remains intact. Why? Simple – culture has the power to rally us through failure and ignite us through success.
Whether you are an entrepreneur starting a new venture or a leader at a long-standing institution, how can you best ensure your organization stays true to its culture – especially during times of change? During our conversation, Julie shared the following strategies that have worked for TorchLight Hire as they have evolved through the years – always keeping their culture at the forefront:
Know who you are
According to a recent article published by Gallup, only 41% of employees “strongly agree” that they know what their company stands for and what makes it different from competitors. Knowing your company’s identity is the first step. Next, you must communicate it to your employees. If they do not understand your message, how are they expected to champion your culture forward?
Hire those who will thrive
As with most things in business, much of your success (or lack thereof) depends on who you hire. Take your time to find people who will thrive in your culture. Technical skills can be taught. What is harder to teach is the values and intangible dynamics that make up your culture.
Health checks are a must
We’re not talking about your Fitbit. Building and maintaining person to person relationships is key to staying grounded. Check in on your team to see how they are doing. Have a remote employee? Give them a call. Keeping a pulse on how your team is feeling can help you make adjustments to keep your culture on course.
Challenge, failure, and change are all inevitable in the world of business – whether you are just starting out or have been in the game awhile. However, what should remain constant is your culture – serving as your guiding light.
To hear more from our discussion with Julie Lowe, subscribe to The Culture Podcast. To learn more about her organization, TorchLight Hire, head on over to their website at https://www.torchlighthire.com/.
For more information on how to transform your culture, visit our website at https://www.successfulculture.com/ where you will find resources geared toward helping you create and strengthen your most valuable asset – your culture.