Corporate Culture: It Matters for Small Business, Too

People often become cynical when they hear the phrase, “corporate culture.” Too often, the term refers to things that matter to senior managers and mission statements, rather than what’s actually happening in the trenches. Yet, building a winning corporate culture still matters – to businesses of all sizes.

After all, small businesses can’t afford to have a “corporate face” that isn’t backed up by employees, and experienced by customers. There’s no room to be phony and “corporate” if you’re a small business.

So, it really helps to see the various aspects of building corporate culture put in terms that people can relate to.

Shawn Storer, the chief of people and culture at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, recently put together a top ten list of culture values that’s worthy of a refrigerator magnet, (or a place on the break-room bulletin board):

  1. Understand Honestly – Dissect what you are known for now.
  2. Decide Intentionally – Move toward what you want to be known for.
  3. Determine Thoughtfully – Live your core values.
  4. Strategize Responsibly – Begin with the end in mind.
  5. Embrace Humanely – Care more than others think is reasonable.
  6. Ignite Passionately – Seek and encourage passionate people.
  7. Plan Accordingly – Results, not effort.
  8. Move Proactively – Take steps only in accordance with your core values.
  9. Promise Openly – Believe or Leave.
  10. Live Purposefully – Do the right thing for the right reason.

We especially like #5: Care more than others think is reasonable. Is there a better antidote to lethargy and cynicism than that?

Of course, companies have to stand behind employees who care “care more than others think is reasonable” and live their core values.

For instance, doing these things may mean spending extra time with a customer – even when that customer doesn’t represent a big sale.

It’s great to have a list of cultural attributes and goals (and this is a good one), but both management and employees need to have the courage and conviction to live by it.

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