Culture refers to the values of the company, the way people get their work done, the way decisions are made, and the way people treat each other, their customers and their shareholders. I have written a lot about the importance of company culture in my previous posts.
Employees may see culture in a very different way than their leaders. This can cause major frustration for employees and it can impact trust and eventually productivity.
One company I work with, The Motley Fool, has put a big focus on company culture. The company was founded in 1993 by brothers David and Tom Gardner, and provides financial solutions for investors of every kind. Because of their various businesses, there are a wide variety of different jobs and a very diverse employee base. The Fool has implemented some simple, yet very effective ways to align the people and the culture.
- The Mission, Vision and Values of The Motley Fool
- Our mission: To educate, amuse, and enrich
- Our vision: To build the world’s greatest investment community
- Our core values: Honesty, optimism, teamwork, innovation, winning
- The Nomenclature
- Open Space
- Foolishness Council
They are prominent on their website and very visible within the company.
In all guidelines and written materials, you feel the flavor of the company. Employees are affectionately called “Fools” and strive to be Foolish.
The Fool has a lot of open space for people to meet and discuss ideas. No one has an office and people regularly engage with each other.
A mix of employees, individual contributors as well as leaders, are hand-picked to be a part of the Foolishness Council. The council serves as the stewards of the culture, looking at what is working and what is not. It is not an extra, but part of their jobs and quarterly objectives. As well as being a great way to get a thorough view of the real culture, it is a great way for people to lead in a non hierarchical way.
These are all very simple, yet creative ways to make a culture real. Don’t wait for someone to do it for you. Find ways to make culture real in your organization.