FAQ: Culture in Growth, Behavior Issues, & Making Culture Stick


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We love questions. Perhaps even more than that, we love pushback.

If we learned anything this month, it’s that people have a lot to say on the topic of Workplace Culture. We got some great, juicy questions and some pushback from conversations this month to address and dive into.

1. How do companies maintain good, cohesive culture as they grow and scale?

It is never too early to do the work of elevating culture to a strategic priority in your organization. Regardless of the size or age of your company, do the work now to define and establish an intentional, integrated culture so that when it’s time to scale and you’re hiring or acquiring 50, 100, or 500 employees, they know exactly what they’re coming into and what’s expected of them on both a behavioral and a performance level.

If you don’t get intentional about it now, then each and every one of those new employees will bring their own flavor and behaviors around how to show up on your team, and your culture will lose it’s shape and integrity as it gets blown around in the wind.

It’s much easier to do the work to create the culture you want now than to fix or reclaim the one you lost 500 employees later.

2. How do you deal with behavior and performance issues in regards to culture?

When you have an established and clearly defined culture that articulates the expectations of how people show up and approach their roles, then conversations around behavior and performance issues become incredibly simple.

When you’re clear about your culture, then as early as the interview process, before people even step into their role, you should be outlining what it takes to be successful in your culture, and your team’s level of commitment to it.

And when you’re doing culture right, those values, behaviors, and mindsets are being reinforced and integrated into the DNA of your teams on a regular basis through training and development, coaching and feedback, reward and recognition programs, common language and communication, etc.

When all of this is in place, any conversations you need to have as a leader around poor behavior or performance are extremely straightforward.

It’s as simple as “This behavior is out of alignment with our culture, let’s work together to get you where you need to be,” and then you work with your people to either coach them into greatness, or out the door.

3. How do you integrate culture and really make it stick?

Defining culture is only the beginning. Living it with traditions, accountability, and making it part of your team’s fabric is the work that makes it work.

Short and simple: It doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes time to create the culture that you really want. It takes a clear, executable plan, consistency, and commitment to that plan so that you don’t give your team whiplash over which shiny new flavor of the month they’re supposed to be on board with now.

You have to have the important conversations and put in the work to weave your culture into the fabric of your company and keep it top of mind. If you approach it strategically and are willing to do the work, you will establish a culture that is intentional, adhered to, and celebrated by your people.

This content was created by keynote speaker Galen Emanuele for the #shiftyestribe. Free leadership and team culture content centered on a new focus every month. Subscribe to the Shift Yes Tribe at shiftyes.com