Creating a Corporate Culture
By Carmella Biesiot
There is nothing more important to your business than your work culture. Establishing a strong bond with your colleagues will undoubtedly lead to better productivity, creativity, and to an overall better understanding of each other. Why are these things important? The answer begins with defying some of the office norms that you never thought you should.
Make Friends. The first office “rule” I am going to crush is the idea that colleagues are “teammates” and they are “co-workers”, but they aren’t necessarily friends. I disagree with that wholeheartedly. Step outside of this norm and try to befriend your co-workers. Get to know them on a personal level and be involved in it. Know their hobbies. Know their families.
The psychology behind all of this is that if you know who your colleague is outside of the office, you are more likely to understand why they make certain decisions and you are then more likely to support them; not only that, but you are more likely to support them in their absence. That is huge. Friends will never let you fall.
I get it - it sounds a bit fantastical. Every office has a Negative Nancy or a Debbie Downer and who wants to even try to be buddies with them? Try. Take a few minutes out of each day to make Nancy laugh or to bring Debbie her favorite latte for no reason. I promise you that these efforts will lead to friendship. Some people take effort, but if they are an integral part of your organization and not going anywhere soon, it will always be beneficial to be their pal. If you’re reading this, it is your responsibility to make it happen.
Lunch. I want you to understand the power of lunch - both positive and negative. I have been in the business world for approximately 12 years. If there is one thing I have learned to be true, it is the power and importance of lunch. Here’s why: In my early years of selling, I would schedule business lunches constantly. I would have a potential or current client meet me at the trendiest restaurant in the downtown of wherever I was living at the time. I would order something eclectic and let it serve as a conversational piece and then go on to discuss a bunch of crap outside of the business deal that didn’t matter.
STOP THAT. Less than 5% of actual business is accomplished during a “business lunch”. Where am I going with this? If you are going to allocate time for lunch during your day (which you should), have lunch with your team. If possible, have lunch with them daily, if not more than once per week. I have lunch with my co-workers every single work day. We discuss business, we discuss ideas, and sometimes we just laugh. I cannot tell you how much this has built our friendship and respect for each other. It’s amazing what one hour each day with each other has done for us and it has really brought us to a level of connection I didn’t think was possible with the people I share an office with.
Be a Part of Something Bigger. Your business matters. That is the reason we get up every morning and go there. We have families to feed and bills to pay, however another part of establishing a strong work culture is being a part of something more important than our delightful jobs. Give back and do it together.
Recently, our company got involved with United Way. Once or twice per year, we leave property and do something together to better our community. We get our hands dirty. We work. We laugh. We make it an experience to cherish. I am not saying you sign up for United Way today or start throwing your paychecks at non-profits but, as cliché as it sounds, we get what we give, so give back. Community involvement and volunteer work not only benefit the city or town that helps your business flourish, but they create a positive company reputation and build your team relationships.
Find a cause and make it an office effort. It will create fellowship and when people feel that they are part of something bigger, they are more grateful, happier, and do their jobs better.
Lighten Up & Learn Something About Each Other. It’s not always business; be honest. I discuss things in the office that aren’t ‘generating revenue’ all of the time! I have one personal goal regarding work culture. I find out what each team mate values outside of their career. I make a solid effort to figure out what their passions are. Once I have learned what I needed to about them, I engage with them at least once per day on that topic. Our assistant general manager prides himself on the crazy socks he wears each day. It is always the first thing we discuss each morning. Now, every place I travel, I make it a point to get him a funky pair of socks that represents where I was. Maybe Susie loves to cook. Share recipes with her. Perhaps John likes to work out-ask him how is fitness session was yesterday. Engage with your co workers on what makes them happy and what fulfills them. When my boss found out I was a runner, he started running with me a few times a week. We never discuss business when we run. We talk about our family vacations, about what we had for dinner, and what we would do with a million dollars, but it’s never work related. I can sincerely say that I am aware of every single person’s values in my office and it has led to a deep admiration and respect for each one of them. When you develop respect and admiration for each other, you will work better together and if the team works well together, the team will accomplish more. Rocket Science? Not even close.
There is no such thing as a perfect group of people placed into the perfect office scenario, but we have the power to make it great. With a little effort (or sometimes a lot), we can build a positive office culture. It will produce better ideas. It will produce friendship and camaraderie. It will produce respect and understanding. Lastly, it will produce. A strong work culture not only will generate better productivity, it is the face of your company. Make it a priority and see immediate results!Carmella Biesiot is is Director of Hotel Sales & Marketing at The Lodge at Deadwood.