Building a Company Culture with Intention

CEO Karen Bexley in her latest article discusses the importance of building a company culture with intention.

We all understand the importance of a company culture so let’s discuss how a company culture is built. A culture can be built by design or default – with or without intention.

Most businesses would say they want a positive, healthy team culture but less can set out what it entails to build and maintain that culture. To design a culture takes intention from the outset and a continual focus. A culture is continually evolving and needs nurturing. Without that focus, even a strong culture will morph into something else which may not be the culture the business set out to achieve. It should never be left to chance to protect and maintain a positive culture, it should be managed intentionally.

Defining and sharing values is not enough to establish a culture. A values led business rewards and encourages behaviours that are consistent with those values. The values are used to guide decisions from recruitment, to office lay-out, to events to day-day operational matters such as which clients and suppliers the company wants to work with. The day-to-day decisions and behaviours should be consistent with, and reinforce, the desired culture patterns.

At Bexley Beaumont we often say “Grow the Team, Keep the Culture”. This is intentional, it’s an acknowledgement of the importance of continual focus on keeping the day one culture as we grow. Keeping the culture takes work. To grow the team intentionally requires a focus on selecting the people from the outset who share Bexley Beaumont’s values, desired behaviours and want to be part of the culture. Then we provide an environment where they can positively thrive in support of their own and the company values.

To intentionally build a culture clearly define and identify your mission, vision and values. Write them down, share them and most importantly live them. Intentionally use them to guide the business, recognising and rewarding behaviours that reflect them. Address any behaviours that risk undermining the culture. Cultures can quickly be destroyed and a new negative culture becomes embedded.

Companies also need to be aware of sub-cultures, I am sure I am not the only one to have experienced working in a team with a fantastic positive culture where the wider company culture was negative and unhealthy. In those cases, the default culture was built despite the company’s actions. The same can also happen in converse - where a team can have a negative toxic culture which is at odds with the rest of the company. As part of intentionally building a culture, the company needs to ensure that all team leaders are champions of the culture and committed to leading by example by demonstrating and supporting the behaviours they want to promote.

In his book “The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups”, Daniel Pink states:

“While successful culture can look and feel like magic, the truth is that it’s not. Culture is a set of living relationships working towards a shared goal. It’s not something you are. It’s something you do”

The “doing” is hard work and can never be left unfettered. A company culture is how you do what you do and at its core it’s how things get done in the workplace. It requires the day one and then daily investment. It requires the intention.

To discuss any of the above further, please feel free to contact Karen Bexley:  |  07971 859332