7 things you can do to create a great company culture

In my experience, the right team culture is critical to the success of every business, so every business leader wants to know how to create it. In reality, I am convinced that none of us can create the culture directly, but on the contrary, we can create an environment where the desired culture emerges. You do this by guiding values, letting values ​​shape behavior, and ultimately behavior defines culture.

I believe you need to start by being a role model for strong personal values ​​and purpose, as well as having empathy for others, enduring energy, and self-awareness. The next step is to communicate effectively and continuously through multiple channels, including speaking to action, email, and actually listening to feedback. Be sure to include all of your constituents, especially customers.

The behaviors you need to inspire for the right culture to flourish can be summarized by the following principles:

1. Create and maintain a sense of energy and purpose.

Many leaders do this today by supporting and promoting a higher level goal beyond profit, such as helping the underprivileged, preserving the environment, or embodying conscious capitalism. Remember that actions speak louder than words and your obvious leadership role is key here.

Whole Foods, for example, has built its business with a commitment to natural and organic foods, and has a culture of loyal employees and customers, which translates to 500 stores worldwide. As a result, they were acquired by Amazon for $13.5 billion.

2. Team members need to feel motivated and activated.

This means they have to believe in what you’re trying to do and feel like they have the right tools, training, and reward system to do the job that needs to be done. Your role is to provide this empowerment by listening to their needs and providing personal coaching and mentoring as needed.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, attributes much of his success to building a motivated and empowered team. He’s always open to ideas from his team, and even if he doesn’t agree that an idea will work, he’ll say so, but he often supports and funds it anyway.

3. Always maintain the best talents for your team.

I find that many CEOs are “too busy” to focus on talent, so they hire available family members or the first candidate without regard to talent, experience or dedication. . Of course, even the best talent needs communication, training and support to create the culture you need.

In my experience, a level of disagreement among the most talented team members is a sign of a healthy team culture. This allows a business to survive and win in this era of multiple disruptive trends. Sometimes the last thing you need are people who always say “yes”.

4. Encourage collaboration rather than competition.

With the financial constraints on all businesses today, it’s easy to convince marketing and development that they’re competing for resources, rather than working together to deliver the best solutions to customers. Even within teams, the culture should be collaborative rather than win-lose.

5. Relationships are the key to happiness and productivity.

It should start with getting to know your team members, as well as partners and customers, and letting them know you. You can then facilitate relationships between team members, as well as with people who can help you. Everyone and your business will benefit from this culture.

6. Celebrate each success to include the whole team.

In addition to individual rewards and bonuses, take the time and effort to include all teams in public recognition of even small successes, including failures that resulted in learning. This fosters a positive team culture and communicates company values ​​that are important to everyone.

7. Commit to providing a positive customer experience.

You can’t create a positive team culture while taking obvious shortcuts on the quality of your solution or your customer service. Stick to what you know best and show your team how to do it better than anyone. Your team culture will coalesce to support your leadership and drive your business success.

Today, your team and your company culture are more important than ever to drive strategy and value, not the other way around. With the internet and social media, your culture is no longer just an internal thing, but extends widely to customers, investors and suppliers.

You are the key to all of those voters working together to win, especially in an increasingly competitive world.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.