In today’s times business owners are focusing their energy on sustaining positive cash flows, seeking new growth opportunities and navigating the many challenges brought about by a tough market.
And so they should be. Businesses are facing testing times and we certainly are not out of the woods yet. What if we looked not only on the outside to help solve these challenges but found something within the business that can be of value?
One of the most important success criteria often ignored by many SME’s is the impact of culture on performance and profitability.
But what is culture anyway and why as a business owner should it matter?
Culture can be described as the shared values, norms and expectations that guide people’s approach to their work and the way they deal with each other and their customers.
It sets the expectation of behaviour. If the behaviour is constructive, methodical and strategic then positive results will ensue.
A company’s success is only the result of its members performing well and keeping focused on what matters most and what will drive the business forward.
If company members are achieving this consistently then high productivity and profitability is the most likely outcome and a resilient business is the natural consequence.
So what can practically be done to achieve this?
The first step is for people to have clarity on what is expected from them and how it relates to the growth and profitability of the business. There is nothing more compelling to an employee when they recognise how their role affects the bottom line and sustainability of the company. It inspires committed action, loyalty and going that extra mile.
The second step is to ensure that the “how to” is clearly defined. When a roadmap or blueprint is collaboratively structured people become empowered when they feel certain that their actions will produce successful outcomes.
The third step is to ensure that support, guidance and encouragement is provided at regular intervals and that a culture of celebration is integrated.
People need recognition and appreciation for meaningful accomplishments and it makes it all the more worthwhile for them to continue to excel.
The 10 questions below may help you to briefly assess the type of culture that is present in your organisation:
Does your culture
- Encourage a high standard of excellence and professionalism?
- Support creativity and innovative ideas?
- Appreciate and reward great performers?
- Celebrate business successes?
- Support a collaborative approach in achieving success?
- Promote proactivity?
- Encourage a friendly cooperative and warm environment?
- Provide the fertile ground for people to flourish?
- Frown upon blame and non accountability?
- Promote transparency, openness and sensitivity?
If you have answered “no” to any of the questions above it may be worthwhile for you to consider appropriate actions.
Make a decision today to become committed to building a culture that will sharpen focus and drive profitable results.
Meiron Lees is a specialist in building resilience for businesses.