What Inspires Lasts

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FREYAZ SHROFF

Whatever the type, or work, of your organisation, and your team, it needs to be fuelled by the core values that define your company.

Peter Drucker, the noted author and educator, once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Better words have never been spoken. Here goes.

According to a survey conducted by Bain & Company on 365 companies, based in Europe, Asia and North America, 81 per cent believe that a company that lacks in a culture built around high-performance is bound to create only mediocre work. Yet, building an organisation’s culture is what creates a legacy that generations after generations of people look up to and value. Product offerings may change, but culture is timeless.

Companies like JetBlue, Google, Disney and Zappos are known worldwide for their work culture that not only promotes excellence, but also fosters an environment where people feel like they belong and are inspired from within to be the best versions of themselves.

A healthy and winning work culture is one that shapes leaders from within, where ideas run free and unobstructed, and everyone is proactive towards creating something of value. So, how do you help to build a work culture that’s timeless, realistic and beneficial to everyone in the organisation?

LEARN FROM THE BEST

Real world examples are always the most helpful in helping you analyse what qualities work and which don’t. Look within your own team and its past achievements. Build on its strengths. Look at the trends and patterns, and understand, what is it that cultivated such success.

IDENTIFY CORE VALUES

Whatever the type, or work, of your organisation and your team, it needs to be fuelled by the core values that define your company — who are you, what do you want to do, what are your goals, etc. Your core values ‘level’ the playing field for everyone in your organisation and sets the true tone of how things get done. Are you a data-driven company? Do you foster a solution-oriented environment? Do you thrive on unique collaborations and innovative ideas? Are you laidback, but also expect high-quality results? What is the vibe you want to create? Whatever the core values, you need to make sure everyone aligns with it, at every level, so it eventually reflects on the outside.

COMMUNICATE

Communicate openly and honestly. Free flowing communication is one of the cornerstones of a great workplace culture. People need to be able to share their ideas and speak without the fear of facing consequences. Ideas should be encouraged even when it is beyond a given employee’s department and portfolio. People are encouraged to think more and do more only when they know and feel that their opinions are not just heard, but also valued.

SERVE THE TEAM… THE COMPANY’S COOL-AID

You cannot build a culture or strengthen core values if your team isn’t in on the whole thing. Hold regular sessions and workshops that reinforce your core values. When there are new recruits coming in, give them a day or two’s worth of orientation — let them learn everything that makes your company different. A ‘mere’ E-mail or inscription on the wall won’t do — you have to talk to them, tell them why you want to focus on certain values and why you want to build this kind of a culture.

HAVE SOME FUN ALONG THE WAY

No, you don’t have to turn every day or week into a party. Fun could simply mean simple activities that bring everyone together, engages them, brings them out of their cubicles, and face to face with their colleagues. Even a day trip or in-office film screening works wonders in fostering healthy interpersonal equations and strengthening team spirit. Give people that breathing space, and you’ll see a whole new side of them and learn so much from them — this can add supplementary value to your office culture.

DO IT TOGETHER

Culture thrives and flourishes when everyone is working on it together. Whatever you do, whatever you experience, do it as a team. Create a vibe, ‘We’re all in this together.’ You’re not just a bunch of employees put together to tick tasks off a list. You’re a community, working towards the same goal, while constantly complementing and empowering each other to do better.

BE READY TO EVOLVE

Times change and with it your company will go through various overhauls and upgrades too. When everything is fluid, culture cannot remain stagnant and forgotten. It is not something you create once and leave to gather dust. Agreed that most core values that serve as the foundation to your organisation must remain the same, but the quintessential culture, as a whole, should constantly be allowed to evolve and grow. This also means regularly evaluating your team in the framework of your company’s culture. Culture doesn’t evolve fully if the people working in it don’t evolve too.

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