What Makes a Great Company Culture?

When describing a company with great culture, many people immediately picture a laid-back and fun-loving atmosphere. This sells a good company culture far short, though.

Building a great culture is much more than just casual attire or Beer Friday—it’s more about the who, what, how, and why of your business. Your culture isn’t your perks, it’s your values. Building a great culture takes some combination of time, money, and effort, but the payoff is a powerful business tool and the ultimate competitive advantage.

10 Elements of Great Company Culture

How many of these 10 does your company have?

Building a company culture of engaged employees takes years and requires consistent execution. I boiled down our culture strategy into 10 essential components I call the “10 Cs of Culture.”

Number one is core values: I used to be very cynical about “core values.” I thought these were just mottos written on plaques hanging on the wall. But when we implemented our values strategy, I began to see how they guided everyday decision-making and how employees referenced them in meetings. I came to realize they are essential guideposts when developed, communicated, and executed in a consistent manner. Values are those behaviors that will never change no matter how the company changes. Today, our values are not only painted on the walls, but also discussed from an employee’s first day. We start every big meeting with a conversation about values and tell stories about how our coworkers live by those values on a daily basis.

Maintaining Culture as You Grow

These specific practices and systems help companies protect and scale their award-winning cultures.

Entrepreneurs talk a lot about what makes a company culture great, but what about keeping a culture great? In the early days of a company, it’s pretty easy for founding members to cultivate and protect a shared identity and set of values. But what happens when the company grows?

As more people come onboard and others exit, your company culture is no longer defined by the people who were there from the start. A sustainable, purpose-driven culture is thoughtful and intentional; pragmatic and practical. And when you talk to leaders from organizations that have successfully scaled their positive cultures, they’ll tell you that it takes hard work every single day.

We sat down with three leaders — two upcoming graduates of the Small Giants Leadership Academy and a Small Giants expert — to learn the specific practices and systems that help them protect and scale their purpose-driven cultures.

Fixing Your Companies Culture

 There are two surefire ways to get a pulse on the intangible “energy” your company is putting out into the world.

Consider walking into a real-life version of “The Office.” The inappropriate and morally questionable behavior of the staff would make you reconsider your decision to work with — or for — the company.

On the other hand, a stale, corporate environment where workers seem to endlessly stare at their monitors is even less appealing. This numb atmosphere that makes you want to run in the opposite direction is a direct reflection of the business’s practices, culture, and approach to people and service. Picture your company the moment someone walks in the door. What does the energy feel like? Your company has a vibe that’s either harming or helping your business. It’s time to find out whether you need to readjust your culture.

Download All the Best Culture Insights

At the heart of your culture is your company’s purpose, vision, and values.

When you commit to uncovering these three pillars and preserving them as your business’s driving strategy, you’ll begin to discover a new way of doing business.

In this ebook, you’ll learn the basics of formulating your company vision and implementing it as a business strategy. For more established purpose-driven leaders, check out new ways to deepen your practice and keep your core ideologies fresh and integrated into your culture.

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