A company's culture is built on the business values upon which the company operates, usually, the owner's values. Culture evolves much from the attitudes and philosophies used to direct the company - less from what is said, more from what is done.
Recent issues with companies like Wells Fargo constantly remind me of the importance of business culture and how it is so frequently misunderstood. No matter what you say, your culture is driven by what you do!
Even listening is not enough. Here the old saw, “actions speak louder than words,” applies. Because listening without action, be that deeper questioning or more research on what was heard, to say nothing of resolving the issue, makes the process fake.
Having "parachuted into" a number of ugly turnaround situations, I've seen small company culture, from a lot of perspectives, often very bad. But all had one commonality...they never really paid much attention to culture.
The culture an entrepreneur creates can be the single biggest factor in not only driving success, but attracting the employees and customers it needs to sustain that success. It reflects the environment and the management style the founder creates.
A customer-centric culture is where the customer comes first and the prime focus of everything the company does, externally. That starts with how you treat your employees, internally. You show your customers the love, by showing your employees the love.
For many entrepreneurs, this sounds like some cultural nirvana. Accomplishing one of those two monumental challenges would be a great thing. But both? It's not only possible, but if you accomplish one, you will almost always, make the other happen!
All entrepreneurs have an opportunity to create something that didn't exist before. For many entrepreneurs that isn't enough. They want to leave a legacy behind. Products or services that people buy because the buying experience is memorable.
A business and its culture should reflect the foundation beliefs of the founder/entrepreneur. These beliefs are founded in the business and personal experiences. But not enough realize them, and fewer still translate them into their culture.
We often use the same terms in business that are used on the sports field when we describe what is necessary to succeed. Intensity. Passion. The will-to-win. Yet, what may be missing is a critical emotion. Fun!
When an entrepreneur starts a business, probably the last thing they think about is the culture they are going to create within it. Yet, it is probably the most powerful force that, later, drives the company forward...or not.