Define culture and keep it front of mind

Culture is a slippery term which can be somewhat hard to define, but define it you must if you intend to lead a prosperous well-oiled business.

Culture is the personality and character of your business. Your culture is what makes you, your employees and your business unique. Your culture is the sum of total of your core values, attitudes, interactions, behaviours and actions.

What can your culture do for you? Positive workplace culture:

  • Attracts and retains talent while improving workplace satisfaction
  • Drives client and customer engagement
  • Positively impacts business performance
  • Allows company ‘brand voice’ to be established – driving marketing
  • Creates loyalty and psychological attachment

The largest pitfall a business can fall into is letting their workplace culture materialise naturally without first defining what they want it to be.

Create your values. Live them. Share them. Make them known.

Actually plan to lead

In the midst of the daily hurricane that is your business, a leader could be forgiven for concentration on the daily grind.

Perhaps you’re putting out daily fires or managing expenses whilst not concentrating on building a significant profit.

Perhaps you are busy micromanaging your staff instead of plotting a detailed future.   Maybe you’re keeping customers happy without creating plans for expanding your business.

Get out of this rut! If you need to promote or hire staff to cover the daily grind, do it. The importance of a leader having time to plan and plot the strategic future of a business cannot be overstated.

Take time to lead the business into the future – not just to tread water.

When the wind changes, be ready

Be change ready. Because drastic market and business changes will occur. Financial disasters area fact of life, expenses change, businesses can fail. The only difference is whether you are prepared for it. Will you be caught unaware with everything on the line?

The financial cornerstones of our business must always be treated as somewhat transient. How many people got caught out in the GFC? What would happen if interest rates shot up to 17%? What would occur if there was a worldwide shortage in your primary supply line? Would you survive?

Prudent small business owner will have a backup plan. Spend time predicting reasonable future scenarios when involved in business planning. Make it a part of your year. Plot out scenarios, look to recent examples and most importantly keep abreast of global financial and industry related news.

The informed are the last to be caught by surprise.

When going through change, keep your people informed

A serious challenge when your business confronts change is the stability of your employees.

Structural business change has four primary characteristics:

  • Scale (How much of the organisation is affected?)
  • Magnitude (How significant are the changes?),
  • Duration (will it take weeks, months or years?)
  • Strategic value (the ipositive impact this will have on the business)

But have you considered internal operations? Organisations will only reap the rewards of business change when it trickles down to individual employees.

Your team is composed of individuals who have families, financial fears and careers to consider – this is on top of their job as a team player.

You need to be able to clarify and create stability for your employees during these times or you may not fare well.

It is correct to be concerned about how the work force will react, how you can get yourteam to work together, and how you will be able to lead.

Plan for this. Conduct extensive private and group meetings, assure people of their stability, let them know what the newer business will look like and how they fit. If you fail to allay the concerns of your people – the business transformation is doomed.