Creating a culture of excellence in your family business

Culture is a hot topic right now.

The “Great Resignation” is dominating conversations and companies are having difficulties hiring due to a shortage of labor.

When you’re competing for talent, every other business becomes your competition.

In these conditions, it’s critical to pay attention to your culture and your people.

From sales to operations to product and service delivery to customer service, humans are responsible for creating all experiences in your business. Can you imagine running your business without people?

While people are not listed directly on the balance sheet under assets, they certainly should be.

The right people and culture will increase the value of your business and make you more money!

Optimizing your culture elevates your ability to retain employees, attract new ones, attract new customers, develop brand recognition, and maintain your customer loyalty.

At the Alliance, we see 5 “orientations” that contribute to a culture of excellence:

  1. Customer orientation
  2. Employee orientation
  3. Performance orientation
  4. Change orientation
  5. Process orientation

Customer Orientation

Your competition can copy your product or service, but they can’t take your culture!

Having a customer-oriented culture can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors, increase your sales, create loyalty, and build a strong reputation in the marketplace.

Here are some questions to help you develop a customer orientation:

  • Does your team really know and respect the value that the customer brings to the business? Do you also think about and place emphasis on the long-term value of a customer to the business?
  • Do you feel like you have a clear picture of how your customers rate their business experience with you? Are you performing routine customer feedback surveys and providing them ample opportunities to give you feedback?
  • Are you discussing the customer when making changes to your processes? Or when are you thinking about innovation in your organization?

Employee Orientation

A strong employee orientation means that your team members feel purposeful, heard, and understood. This creates a positive work environment that contributes to productivity and retention.

  • Are you doing routine employee surveys? Do you have opportunities for employees to get feedback on their performance?
  • Your vision, mission, and values are your culture on paper. Are these top of mind within your organization? Do your employees live and breathe these?
  • Do you have the right people in the right roles to maximize team effectiveness? Do you know what makes your team members unique? Do you know what situations they thrive in? And do you work to make sure they’re placed in those roles?

Performance Orientation

Researcher and author Brene Brown describes performance standards as “making sure her team knows what done looks like.”

She sets clear expectations of what she envisions for the finished project or product, then she allows the team to tackle it. Is this true for your organization?

  • Are you clear about details and expectations? Are your employees sometimes confused? When things aren’t done to an expectation, do you communicate that?
  • Do people know exactly what would happen if the ball was dropped? Are these consequences applied fairly and routinely?
  • On the flip side: are they also clear about incentives for achieving those goals? Are these accomplishments celebrated?
  • Are your progress results communicated routinely? Are you remembering to communicate with all the members within the organization? (I’ve been guilty of this in the past – communicating clearly with the people in the same location as my office and overlooking the folks who worked out of our other location. While not intentional, it had the effect of making them feel less seen and appreciated.)
  • Does your team trust that you are going to do what you say you’re going to do? Do you walk your talk?

Change Orientation

We hear it all the time: “the only thing that never changes is that everything changes.”

When your company is committed to a change orientation, you embrace continual improvement and change. This is easier than having infrequent large and involved change initiatives.

  • Does your organization cringe at the word change? Or is it celebrated and encouraged?
  • Do you make a purposeful effort to incorporate conversations around change?
  • Do you challenge your people to think of new ways of doing things?

If not, you might want to try this: Next time you’re discussing something with your team, and the results are going well, stretch yourself! Say: “Hey, that sounds great. I’m glad this is working out. Now let’s work a muscle we have not regularly worked out. Let’s think about the same situation we have. But let’s say we must do it differently than we’re doing it right now. I’m not saying that we’re going to change it. I just want us as a group to think about a different way to do it.”

If you try this, you will likely see some people light up, because they have been thinking for months about how to do it differently. Other people are going to get frustrated and see this as a total waste of time. Some people won’t say anything.

What you’re doing is working your change muscle. Repetitions like this are what builds a culture with a commitment to change.

Process Orientation

Companies in the Prosperity Zone walk a fine line between flexibility and structure.

Exercising your change muscle develops flexibility. Paying attention to process improves structure.

  • Does your organization rely on processes to accomplish goals? Or are things more ad hoc?
  • Are your processes documented? Do your people know where to access them? Or who to ask?
  • Does the team know the proper places and spaces to propose change to your processes? Are they comfortable doing so?
  • Are you having routine discussions with your team members? Do they know how the meetings or discussions are going to take place? The times? How to improve them? Are you getting oriented around your processes?

Your culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution or organization.

Committing to a culture of excellence can be challenging and it can take some time to fully implement, but the rewards are enormous.

If you’d like some assistance implementing positive culture change in your organization, we can help! Contact us for a free consultation.

Free Video: Creating a Culture of Excellence

When you’re in the Prosperity Zone you will see and feel your culture, the vibe, the energy. Your employees are engaged and your customers give you great reviews. Join us to learn:

  • How to create a culture that keeps employees engaged and excited
  • What brings down company culture
  • Barriers to excellence and how to overcome them
  • Bonus video: creating a culture of excellence with remote teams

This video is included in our free resource library. Enter your email address below to get instant access.