As the owner of an entrepreneurial (growing by definition) business one of the most important responsibilities we have is to create and nurture the culture we want for our company. I think sometimes we, as small business owners, think this culture stuff is only for big businesses with lots of extra people and time to think about it. But the truth is that every company has a culture.
What is equally true is that if the owner(s) of the company don’t take the time and make the effort to establish the culture they want they will have to live with the culture someone else creates.
In our company we want to be intentional about this. In another recent blog I wrote that our company exists to make the dreams of our employees & members possible and to create an environment where we can enjoy the work we do. These intentions drive how we do business.
Equally important in establishing an intentional culture is to express and embrace what you believe in. Once you do that you can embody those values and expect your employees to do the same.
I have reprinted below the core values & beliefs we hold at OAA as an example. I hope it will encourage and inspire you to begin creating the culture you want (if you haven’t already).
Our Core Values & Beliefs
We should always do what is in the best interests of OAA, our members and our insurance company partners.
We value our members, respect their intentions, and desire to help them grow.
We believe that every team member is an important person who has capability and potential that should be nurtured, cultivated and expanded.
We believe that our actions and words should always be honest and that integrity is our highest value.
We strive to be our personal best, and organizationally, to consistently deliver quality results.
We believe that effort and intentions matter but results are what count.
We should always have a sense of urgency about what we are doing.
That we can always do better those things we are already doing well.
These eight simple statements aren’t complicated, hard to understand or difficult to live with. They aren’t the end of the creation of culture but the beginning and the boundaries. I’m proud of these eight statements because I think they represent who we are.
Do you have the culture you intended or the culture you ended up with? If the latter you might consider answering this questions: What are your core values and beliefs?