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Cultivate a Culture of Results

  • Blog
  • 30 August 2016

The right culture is one of the critical success factors in a healthy business. At FSB, we know how important it is for our members to foster a supportive, healthy and proactive operating culture, where staff enjoy their work and are motivated to go that extra mile for their customers.

Getting this kind of culture going leads to a recognisable and positive impact on bottom line results. So how can you begin thinking about your own business culture and work out a strategy for improving it further?

Cultivate a Culture of Results

Identify what success means to you

Defining this point is vital. Without understanding what success looks like for your particular business, you cannot devise strategies designed to achieve it, or indeed measure activity as it occurs. You will of course have financial success criteria, but many modern SMEs have a far broader range of measures.

These routinely include more holistic aims such as playing a positive role in the local community, providing sustainable local employment or being an exemplar of workforce diversity. Think broadly and engage with your leadership team to understand what drives them. There will undoubtedly be common values which you can develop into a mission.

Review progress to date

Carry out a business audit using a consultant who specialises in a people framework such as IIP if necessary. This will allow you to review what is currently working well for your business in terms of its culture and behaviours and what is serving it less well. For example, many SMEs find that communication with their own staff could be improved to further build a sense of team and morale. And this becomes a focus area for an action plan.

Make it personal

If you are going to look at your business values and culture, engage willing staff from across the organisation and value their input. In the majority of businesses, staff on the front line have hugely important perspectives and insights that senior managers can so easily miss. Equally, you might want to interview your customers to get their perspective and to gather data about where you can improve. This can be an unnerving process, but it is a hugely valuable one.

Forget perfectionism - trial new things

Perfectionism is impossible to achieve and it often stifles creativity and innovation. Rather than forcing everyone to try to live up to an impossible ideal of what is 'right and good', foster a culture whereby mistakes can be made in the name of trialling new approaches and taking measured risks.

Get online

Start talking about your business in an open and engaging way, using blogs and social media. Encourage your staff to do the same, so that you start a positive conversation with prospects and customers alike. Provide training and guidelines to staff so that they have a useful framework within which to operate. Social media can also help you to convert your customers into brand advocates for you.

Go local

Local community business is a powerful driver of sales and morale alike, so finding your position in the community and supporting local causes can win you new custom and a great reputation. It's also something that staff greatly value.

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