At the Las Vegas headquarters of online retailer Zappos, team members are allowed to stay on the line with customers as long as needed, even if the call lasts 10 hours and 29 minutes—the company record. Travel 500 miles northwest and you’ll find Googlers deep in a sand volleyball match in the middle of the workday. Yes, we said in the middle of the workday. And right here in Nashville, Dave’s Christmas time generosity is legendary. His team members spend months eagerly anticipating the annual holiday party.
What Dave and the CEOs of companies like Zappos and Google have learned is that if you intentionally create a culture that’s fun and values people over the bottom line, you’ll beat the competition every time. Why? Because building a company that cares leads to fanatically loyal team members and customers. In fact, according to a recent study by Deloitte, 83% of managers and 84% of team members said that an engaged and motivated work force is the top contributor to a company’s success.
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So how do you create this kind of culture, especially if you’ve already been in business for a number of years and have gone down the traditional business-as-usual route? As Dave teaches in EntreLeadership Master Series, it’s never too late to make your company anything but usual. Here are some steps how.
1. People Matter
If you were only allowed one core value to follow, it should be this: Put other people first. And that’s everyone—your family, your team, your customers. Heck, even your competition. Every single person deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and a caring heart. At Dave’s company, everything he and his team do is based on this simple idea.
2. Find the Why
As best-selling business author Simon Sinek says, every organization knows what they do, but very few can say why. That why—your purpose—is the foundation of your culture, and it is what will make your team passionate about their jobs. Let them know that it’s not all about the money and teach them that their work matters. It makes all the difference in the world. Find your why and share it with your team as often as possible.
3. Hire Smart
Creating a team of talented rock stars who deeply care for each other starts at the hire. From leadership to an administrative assistant, take your time filling every position. And hold out—no matter how much you need the job filled—until you find the absolutely perfect person.
“We hire and keep only people who are sold-out passionate about our cause,” Dave says. “You cannot work on my team if you are simply looking for a J-O-B.”
4. Stay Out of the Ivory Tower
At Dave’s company, it’s not unusual to see one of his leaders pick up a piece of trash, set up tables, or do whatever is needed to get a job done. They look for every chance to let their team know that although they’re in charge, everyone is in it together.
5. Recognize and Reward
Part of letting people know they matter is to brag on them. Why? Because every individual around you yearns to be appreciated. Recognize your team early and often, and watch them strive to achieve more and more.
6. Schedule Some Play Time
Ugly-Christmas-sweater contests, a battle of the bands, a few potlucks, some victory celebrations, a softball tournament … It doesn’t matter what activities you schedule—it’s worth the extra effort to set aside the time. Why? Because those who play together will bond. There is something magical about meals too. When you break bread with your team, you get to know them on a different level.
As a business owner, it’s up to you to decide if you want a building full of mindless drones or happy, fulfilled team members who will do anything to help you win. And it all begins with culture. When you create a culture that cares, anything is possible. So what are you waiting for? Start yours today.
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