We have been delivering some training courses recently based upon identifying and developing a strong company culture. It’s been really interesting, and has helped us to start the process of launching a new division for our business, so watch this space for news about Adam Butler Training Academy!
However, back to the main subject, there was one particular course on culture, where we look in length at the unique values that from the foundations for the company culture in any business.
With this one session I was delivering, I was asked a great question by one of the delegates that really got me thinking. Here’s what I was asked:
“Surely most businesses share the same set of values.. Honesty, Trust, Respect, Great Customer Service, Integrity… etc. How does that translate into a Culture for the business if everyone is starting from the same point?”
It’s a great question if you think about it. No one is going to claim they don’t hold those things dear; It really wouldn’t be very good for business if you were to say you were dishonest and lacked integrity! But how do these similar “societal” values translate into a UNIQUE CULTURE?
Well the way I see it, it’s a bit like when you would visit a friends house when you were a child. Remember getting a lift home from school in your friend’s mum’s car? It was similar to what you normally experienced, but very definitely different. Remember walking in through their front door and noticing a slightly different smell to the house? (Probably a pet or different washing powder!) The way they had dinner at different times, and how they were either more formal, or less formal, than you were at the dinner table?
One of my friends NEVER had dinner at the table. He (and I when I visited) would eat our tea off a tray in front of the telly. I loved it! I tried to bring that part of the experience back to my house. I didn’t get very far, Mrs Butler Senior is VERY specific about requirements for dinner at 5.30m sharp, everyone in their allocated seats, and only 1 hour of TV per night!
And here is my point…
My friends’ families just had a slightly different way of doing things. That’s how they did things around there, and that’s what everyone in their family understood as good protocol. They still believed in Honesty, Trust, Respect, Manners, Being kind to one another, Having Fun, just like we did in my family… it’s just that they could eat their dinner watching Grange Hill.
And it’s exactly like that in business. You have a unique Culture that has developed over time and been enhanced by all the people you invite into your business “family”. It’s the subtle little differences (or sometimes the massive ones!) underpinned by your values,that make your business different to everyone elses. Often it’s your house rules that can be the reason people come and stay.
At Adam Butler Group we have a smart casual dress code where you can wear smart jeans everyday if you like, and one staff member commented recently that she’d hate to give that up if she ever left. Small thing I know, but it can make a big difference. Clearly it’s not as high up the scale as delivering world class customer service every time, but it is part of our internal code that helps us find the best people that WANT to turn up to work everyday, believing what we believe, and personifying that to our clients.
So what’s it like round your place? That’s your Culture. I’d love to pop in, especially if we can have dinner on a tray watching 1980’s kids TV re-runs!
All the best – Adam Butler, owner and founder.