In his new book, Hi-Tech-Hi-Touch Customer Service, author Micah Solomon says, “With a great company culture, your employees will act consistently. They won’t depend on your presence to remind them how to act. Their motivation will come from within themselves, reinforced by those around them.” Let’s take a quick look at 3 characteristics of building a great culture in your organization.
1. With a great company culture, your employees will act consistently.
A great culture is one where employees buy-in to the way things are done. Look at Apple, Southwest, and Disney. A great culture provides unspoken “guard rails” that keep everyone aligned with the culture and expectations. These guard rails are learned, and eventually bought into or not. If you have a problem with the culture, you leave – the culture does not change. As Jim Collins said in his book Built to Last, “If you can’t embrace the idea of ‘wholesomeness’ and ‘magic’ and ‘Pixie dust…’ then you’d probably hate working at Disneyland.” In contrast, a mediocre culture leads to employees acting inconsistently, due to a lack of buy-in and lack of respect for leadership.
2. They won’t depend on your presence to remind them how to act.
Employees who are fortunate to work for an organization with a great culture do not need leadership to baby sit them. They do not need to be reminded. They know how to act – at all times – because they have bought in to the culture. They believe in you and the organization. They also feel invested in the success of the company. They feel part of a team. In contrast, a mediocre culture leads to employees behaving one way when you are around, and another when you are not. Extrinsic motivation (from leadership) replaces intrinsic motivation (from pride.)
3. Their motivation will come from within themselves, reinforced by those around them.
Ah – self-motivation! Intrinsic motivation, coming from within, is something sorely lacking in our society today. But Solomon also says that this self-motivation is reinforced by those around them. He calls this positive peer-pressure. We usually think of peer pressure as something negative and harmful, but in a great culture, this kind of support, ownership, and teamwork can be very powerful. In contrast, a mediocre culture will feature negative peer pressure as well as gossip, drama, and complacency.