Can Your Business Culture Make a Difference?

David Hadley

You may recall how I expressed my disappointment in a blog with customer service in a store some twelve months ago.

The perceived indifference we experienced at the cash register was one that we did not want to experience ever again.

Well what a difference 12 months can make.  With new owners of the business and an obvious huge cultural change of customer service, the business has improved substantially. The team at the cash register seem only too happy to serve you and will open additional cash registers to ensure your wait is minimal.

When you go to the same brand store in other towns it is exactly the same. There is on most occasions someone at the door to welcome you.  The team all seem very happy and are always busy. This makes you conclude that it has to be a great corporate culture that they are able to instil in their team.

In a recent Harvard Business Review blog Michael C Mankins discusses how Southwest Airlines ‘fosters a culture of employee empowerment and cost containment, enabling the airline to become one of the world’s most admired and profitable carriers’. Under Herb Kelleher’s leadership, the company became known for its sense of humour, irreverence, and focus on the employee. This unique identity not only made flying Southwest fun for passengers, it made its labour force more productive.

I have always believed having a great culture is one of the keys to the success of any business. So what makes a great culture? Sure it probably has something to do with the stores leadership, but to have the same attitude in multiple stores would imply they have a great culture communicated extremely well throughout most of their stores.

To assist in getting the right culture you would need to start with the vision and mission of the business. These are not one and the same but two distinctive things. A good vision statement will provide an inspiration for the daily operations.  It will also answer the question on where you want the business to go. Here at Green Taylor Partners ‘we aim to be the best’. Microsoft’s vision is ‘A personal computer in every home running Microsoft software‘.  Whilst a mission statement will answer the question of why are we in business, a business’s values are the core of the culture.

Values offer a set of guidelines on the behaviour and attitude needed to achieve the vision.

Obviously a business needs the people or team that are willing to not accept the vision, mission and values, but to embrace them.

There are many factors that can influence culture, but having a vision, mission statement and business values can certainly go a long way. It can and has certainly made a difference in the way customers are now treated in the store I initially mentioned.

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