Add a 6th Rock: Company Culture

“Your culture is so powerful that it actually helps employees decide to stay or resign. Are you and your culture worth staying around?” – Jim Collins

A great part of the methodology we use for the strategic planning we regularly do, for growing companies around the world, is to have a vision for the company, long- and short-term goals, and quarterly deliverables for both the company and its key leaders.

And we’re lucky to work with companies over 5, 10 or 15 years to see how their planning and execution evolves and where it falls short.

One of the big areas that needs attention is around culture. When a company starts a planning process, people get excited about their vision, purpose, core values and culture, and enthusiastically set BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals, as Jim Collins calls them).

But over time, company culture fades into the background and quickly becomes wallpaper, as the focus turns to productivity – and then we wonder why people don’t want to stay. In the end, the owner or founder doesn’t like what the company has become.

As a company grows, the key is to continually sculpt the culture into what you want it to become. You can put any group of people together but if they don’t have common thread sewing them together, they’ll pull apart and go off in their own direction.

Come Alive Every Quarter

It’s not rocket science – it’s about paying attention and doing something new or different to breathe life in the culture.

Jim Collins’ research confirms the value putting some extra energy into reminding people of the values and purpose of the organization. So, I suggest adding to your five quarterly planning goals with a 6th Rock to breathe life into your culture:

  • It could be shooting a video of people engaged in fun activities together
  • Or ask everyone to read an article that reinforces your Core Values, then get together to talk about it
  • Create a Core Values award to recognize people who exemplify them
  • Get out and do an activity together.

And there’s a hundred other possibilities.

It’s about being thinking, conversing and relating to each other around the most important principles of your business.

By the way, one of the worst ideas is the poster. It becomes wallpaper in a few hours or days and does nothing.

We have endless ideas from the hundreds of great examples we’ve seen over the years, so if you need help, let us know.

The Challenge

If a great company culture is an important part of your strategy…

  • What have you done to reinforce it in the last 90 days?
  • How can you make sure culture stays a part of strategic plan process?