Real culture scales with company growth.

When a new employee enters an organization, he often has no history or prior knowledge of the organization’s culture. So what is one of the first things he does to learn about the company? He watches how people behave at work. If a company’s culture is successful, the new employee will adopt similar behaviors. As I stated in my previous post, culture is a manifestation of a pattern of behaviors. Once established, real culture scales with company growth.

But how does a company create a culture that is universally accepted and adopted by employees? Successful company culture begins by distinguishing core values that are easy to understand.

How do you get employees on board?

By definition, core values should be short and sweet. If you have 12 different items that you publish as your core values, it’s very difficult for employees to grasp the essence of your company’s focus. Not to mention, it’s almost impossible to translate them into actions and make them quantifiable. Edit your core values to the smallest number possible–if you can focus on one, that would be ideal.

Core values also need to be relatable on a personal level. Values should be applicable outside of work; present during interactions with family, friends, and strangers. This relatability will ensure your employees easily understand what your company values really mean and how they can be enacted in daily behavior.

Where does culture start?

Implementation of company culture starts with senior leadership. The senior leadership team needs to demonstrate a company’s core values; this will ultimately influence the way all employees act in the workplace.

The second challenge is maintaining the culture. You do this by motivating the right behaviors. The people who are rewarded, receive recognition, win promotions and gain leadership positions, should be the people who embody the company culture.

What are Forte’s core values?

At Forte, our primary value is collaboration.  Stemming from this primary focus are our secondary values, which advance our goal to achieve a culture of collaboration. In all, we have four core values:

  • Collaborate
  • Pursue Excellence
  • Fulfill Commitments
  • Celebrate

Forte’s culture begins with me. I emphasize our core values and instill them in all decisions. However, our culture does not succeed because I am sitting here, micromanaging everything. We have built a culture that makes sense to people, so ultimately my leadership team knows how to make appropriate decisions because it has become second nature. As a leader, you need to trust people to make the right calls. If you don’t allow your employees to make the big decisions, culture continues to be just one person’s responsibility.

As we continue to grow as a company, our culture remains consistent and strong in all of our decisions. Our culture has scaled with our growth because both our leadership and employees demonstrate our core values on a daily basis. In the coming posts, I’ll explain how we came to the decision that our four core values would be the cornerstone of Forte as a company and how they continue to inform our 100 NPS.