I have discussed how to influence the culture of your business in previous posts. I have also discussed the importance of having a Mission, Vision and Values (MVV) statement for your business. These are essential frameworks that bind your team together and give them clear direction and purpose, to achieve business success. Your company should also have a set of values and expected behaviours that support your culture. While endorsing a code into your team like a college fraternity may be taking it a little too far, defining these values expected behaviours of your team is an integral part of your culture.
What I’m referring to here is how your team treat each other concerning discrimination, harassment, transparency, support, learning, discipline and a plethora of many different behavioural type expectations supported and endorsed by your business. Let’s look at some obvious ones as examples. Our team encourages learning, which means allowing team members time to continue education in areas that will help them upskill and develop their careers. Some of these learnings may not be directly associated with the current role an individual, but would help them advance and improve for their future. This behaviour extends the belief that any education benefits the entire team and creates a stronger team as a whole.
Another more common one is to endorse mistakes with an open door policy. The many moving parts of your business leaves exposure to errors. How you deal with these as a leader, will send a clear message of the business values to the team. Allowing team members to be open about mistakes and use them as a learning experience, both for themselves and for the rest of team, will strengthen processes in the business. Don’t criticise mistakes. Allow individuals to use them as a case study and document them for team meetings. The entire team then learn from the error and procedures can be updated to prevent the mistake from happening to other team members.
Finally, consider how you treat each other as individuals. Are your team members treated equally by each other and by you as a leader? While there are laws preventing discrimination in the workplace, each business must take steps to ensure that it is not the ‘law’ you are upholding but a culture, a code, an unwritten value.
The key to endorsing this code into your business is to ensure every team member is empowered to support it and enforce it. Initiatives like these are to be owned by the team. You can’t implement them from the top down. They are a code of values that each team member must believe in themselves. Once have empowered them with this, you have adoption into your business.