Customer loyalty starts with an organization being loyal to its customers.

All organizations strive to have loyal customers. These customers give you their business over and over and help you gain new customers through endorsement to friends and colleagues.

Companies try to motivate this behavior through various referral and reward programs. From Starbucks to Delta to Starwood – customers earn points, miles, and other rewards they can use to subsidize buying more from that company.

While some of these mechanisms are true customer rewards, others are lock-in mechanisms that increase switching costs. Either way, they help keep the customer. However, a customer who stays with a company because they don’t want to lose their rewards, is not always a happy customer. Don’t mistake customer retention for customer loyalty.

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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.

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Real culture is an outcome of conscious choice.

If you were to ask me the most important element for success in business, I would say it is company culture.

The point of failure for many companies is often rooted in a passive attitude toward culture. They rely on documents to spread cultural awareness, rather than instilling company values through action. Real culture is an outcome of conscious choice.

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