Culture is king! Company culture is a hot business topic right now, and rightly so as it is proven to have a direct impact on success. Here are a few key steps to assist with the process of creating a company culture.

Who are we right now? Start with an audit of where the organization currently stands. What culture has devolved organically? An easy way to do this is to ask the staff. Managers will walk away from this exercise with insight not only for the business’s culture-project but several process improvement projects!

What do we want to be? If the snap of the fingers could create the perfect culture for the business, what would it be? Culture is like a personality. It is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes and behaviors shared by a group of people. It’s the culmination of all the team’s effort boiled down to its essence.

Find the disconnect. If there is a big gap between what the business wants to be and what it currently is, what needs to change to fill the void? What tools are missing? Are there systems in place that nurture the business’s core values? It’s one thing to proclaim that the member experience is a priority, it’s another to roll up one’s sleeves and make it happen when the business isn’t quite hitting the mark. As the adage says, “Actions speak louder than words.”

Work at it daily. A great culture isn’t magic. Realizing this is empowering in and of itself. Each day is a new chance to define what the “culture of the day” will be. Nothing in business is ever perfect. What matters is planning and effort.

Make sure that all team members realize their impact. Change starts with one person in one department and it spreads. While the leadership team may be at the helm of the ship, it’s the crew members who provide the momentum. Acknowledge good examples of team members who exhibit the desired culture and seek buy-in from the entire team!

Make it authentic. There are some great examples of companies who do culture well. A quick Google search will yield, well, Google! While taking inspirations from companies like Google, Zappos or Southwest Airlines is smart, a business’s culture should be entirely its own. Maybe free lunches, pajama Fridays and open work spaces prove successful, but maybe not. Make your company culture unique.