Creating Culture on Purpose

Wherever you go, you step into a particular culture.  If you go to a fast-food restaurant you will experience their culture.  If you go to a high-end restaurant they will operate out of a distinctly different culture.  You will find distinct cultures in retail stores, hotels, auto repair shops, grocery stores,  manufacturing facilities, banks, churches, schools, homes, and families. 

Everywhere you go there is a culture.  We step into a culture, we are surrounded by culture, we feel culture.  You can’t escape culture.

Since that is the case why wouldn’t we design and shape our culture on purpose?  Why not be deliberate about what our culture is going to be like rather than leave it to chance or osmosis? Whether we design it deliberately or just let it happen, there will be a culture.

So how do we design culture to be what we want it to be?  Two things:

  1. A strong Mission and Vision
  2. Repetition supported by action
  • A Strong Mission and Vision

There’s a difference between a strong mission statement and a weak one.

For example: 

“To serve our customers” is a weak statement.  It is too broad and too bland.  It has no teeth. 

“To delight our customers” is stronger because it is an expression of an experience they’ve had in the interactions with your organization.

“To make our customers smile at every interaction” is stronger because it reveals exactly what type of response to your product or service you want your customer to have.

  • Repetition supported by action

How do we learn?  How do we incorporate a principle or idea into the lives of our team members?  Through repletion supported by action. 

If our mission was to “make our customers smile at every interaction” then we must repeat that concept every day, at every shift, and to every employee. Repetition causes us to internalize concepts, absorb concepts, and replicate concepts.  Ideas internally absorbed become external realities for us. 

Then we must carry out actions that will produce those smiles.  The question is simple at every turn we must ask, “what will make our customer smile?”  Whether you have a direct or indirect connection to the customer that question needs to be asked.  If you answer phones or solve problems, set up a display at your retail store or stock your shelves at the market.  If you sell something directly to a customer or prepare to have it delivered.  If you are upfront or in the back.  Everything we do as an organization we do it in such a way that it will make our customers smile.

The result of creating a culture on purpose is that you can have the confidence to know that you are, as an organization, are who you say you are.  And that is another definition of success. 

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