I've met so many people that have ambitious weight loss goals or a desire to get healthier and exercise more. I've also met just as many people that say they would love to foster teamwork and a great culture inside their company.
I also see the same people fail at both despite their best intentions. I believe fostering a great company culture is like keeping a healthy lifestyle and it's just as hard.
Just knowing is not enough
Why do you think so many people are overweight, yet there are a million weight loss strategies out there. In fact weight loss at it's core is quite simple. If you consume more energy then you use up, then you gain weight, if you use up more energy then you eat you lose weight. If it's so simple why isn't everyone sporting a 6 pack and eating salads?
Well it comes down to your own habits, self control and awareness. Most people gain weight because it's easier binging on tasty KFC than making themselves a salad. And in the workplace, it's easier to get into a blame game then it is to self reflect and change yourself. There are so many strategies and tips on how to get a great company culture, so many companies to learn from that have done it all before. What makes company culture that much more challenging is you have multiple people in the mix, not just yourself. So if you thought just sorting yourself is hard, imagine all the complexities of doing the same thing with multiple groups.
You need to keep at it everyday
Keeping a healthy lifestyle is not easy, it takes small deliberate efforts everyday to develop a healthy habit, and it takes daily maintenance to ensure you don't fall off the rails. I feel the same way about company culture.
The most ingrained cultures are shown in employee habits, if these are positive then you are on your way to developing company culture, if these are negative well you're on your way downhill. I've seen great company cultures built on small daily efforts such as reciting the company vision at every meeting, and spending each weekly staff meeting reinforcing it with a presentation and examples of the employee values at work. Although this may sound like you are back in school, these small repetitive things are essential to keeping and maintaining a company culture. As soon as you think you're too good to do these things, that's when problems will start to arise and I've seen it happen before.
It takes a tremendous amount of effort to change a habit.
The average amount of time to change a habit is actually 66 days. That's over 3 months. It takes deliberate change in the first 30 days and then a period of reinforcing the habit to get it to stick. It's all so easy to get back into old habits too if you don't consciously work on it. I've actually seen companies that were considered one of the best places to work, become one of the worst in a matter of months just because they thought they didn't need to work at it once they got there. It's just like if you spend 8 months dieting to your goal weight and then think it's ok to start eating junk food again, or skip gym sessions. Before you know it, you would lose all those months of hard work in a matter of weeks.
If you're a small business with a vision to bring people on board, it's easier to start these habits earlier rather then later. Just like kids base their health and lifestyle decisions based on what they see their parents doing, your employees will look to you when it comes to their habits and cultures in the workplace. Don't underestimate the power of leading by example.
I'd love to know what are some of the habits you'd love to introduce into your business :)?