How to Define Your Company’s Values

In my previous post, I mentioned that defining your company’s values is one of the most important things you can do to build a strong culture. You could think of the values as the DNA of your company’s culture, or the blueprints if you prefer architectural references to biological ones. Defining your values helps create the foundation from which the culture can be built in a clear, intentional way.  Without clearly defined values, people will have different ideas about what the culture of the company is supposed to be, and what’s expected of them. Key decisions from hiring to budgeting to setting strategic direction will be made without the rudder of values ensuring alignment amongst the decisions, and clarity around how they’re being made. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Create an Inspiring Vision

Here are a few key questions that may help guide you to create a vision that will endure the test of time, fire up your employees, and make it clear to the world what your company stands for:

  • What do we aspire to become, and achieve, as a company?
  • What will the world look like once we’ve won?
  • What impact do we want to make on the world?
  • What is the human value of what our company is doing?
  • What is our higher purpose as a company (that resonates with our team members and customers)?
  • What is the most meaningful thing we could achieve as a company?
  • What do we believe we have a 50% chance of achieving?  30%? 10%?

The key is to ensure that your vision statement clearly describes an imagined future that is different from today, and the way in which it’s different matters to you, your team members, customers and investors. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Discover Your Core Values

I mentioned in my previous post that one of the most important things you can do as a CEO to build a great culture is to know – and live – your own personal core values.  Clearly, the first step is discovering what those values are.  Here is a process you can take yourself through (or work through with a coach or advisor) to clarify and prioritize your values: Read the rest of this entry »

The 5 most important things a CEO can do to build a strong culture

As a CEO, you have more of an influence on your company’s culture than anyone else in the company. While you can’t create the culture on your own, what you do (and don’t do) everyday will illustrate to your team members what you value, and in turn what the company values and expects from its people. By your example, people will understand what behaviors are appropriate and what it takes to get ahead in your company.

The bad news is that, more than anyone else, you have to be thoughtful day in and day out about everything that you do and say. The good news is that, if you get this right, it will make a bigger difference than any other factor in enabling you to achieve massive business success, work with an amazing team in an energized environment, and make the difference you want to make in the world.  So, what are the 5 most important things you can do to build a strong culture? Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Not About The Foosball

Let’s take a moment to define what a ‘strong culture’ means.  Here’s what it doesn’t mean:

  • Foosball tables and happy hours
  • Free food
  • One big party
  • All fun, all the time
  • A culture just like Zappos, Netflix, JetBlue, Google or anyone else

A strong culture is all about alignment.  Alignment of everything!  Read the rest of this entry »

Put Culture First

Everyone wants to be happy. We make purchase decisions, career decisions and major life decisions in an attempt to increase our well-being. And yet, as a society, we’re not doing a very good job of it. While we’ve collectively created and enjoyed tremendous advances in technology and innovation, and increased our ability to make and consume stuff, the level of joy, fulfillment and life satisfaction in the developed world has not increased in modern times.

As leaders, we have a tremendous opportunity to do something about this. To create a happier world, starting with our own organizations and communities. To create workplaces where people thrive.  You must make culture-building your #1 priority. Read the rest of this entry »

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