That’s what my mother used to say to my sisters and me. She said it to make sure we remembered to act accordingly when we were out and about, based on the values she and my father had instilled in us. We had operating norms as a family. And whether my parents were present or not, my mother made it clear that we were to embody those norms at all times.
Those operating norms have shaped me tremendously, and many still stick with me as an adult. They inform how I treat people, how I view the world, what is acceptable behavior, and what isn’t. They influenced the qualities I value and, and are often a factor in how I make decisions.
Operating norms are everywhere. They exist in families, on sports teams, and especially in business.
But here’s the thing: Norms will form whether or not you shape them. And those that develop on their own, may not be what you want, like, or approve of. No bueno.
Thus as a leader, it is better for you to define what your operating norms are, which can also be thought of as company culture, so you can instill it within everyone who works on your team.
This is critical because your team represents your business. People associate the behavior of every person they interact with in your company, as a reflection of your company.
As such, if you want your customers to consistently have remarkable experiences whenever they come in contact with some aspect of your business, you’ll need to cultivate a culture where delivering them is the norm.
Note, the culture you work to establish isn’t a set of rules and regulations. To get everyone on your team to fully live into the values, behaviors, and standards that are in keeping with how you want to run your business and treat your customers, make sure your team embraces your culture as a mindset.
Here’s one that will work well for you.
Why the entrepreneurial mindset should be a core part of your company culture
At Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos makes a point to note that it is always Day 1. The company will always act like an aggressive startup.
“I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades…Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”
Staying in start-up mentality has served Amazon well, as they are more than a $100 billion dollar company. But even though many businesses want to continue to grow, and maintain that entrepreneurial spirit that helped them achieve such rapid growth, they struggle with how to do so.
Once they hit a certain level of success with a sizeable number of employees, they become more bureaucratic, less aggressive, and less nimble. They become more disconnected from their customers. Complacent. They turn the page and begin operating on Day 2.
The key to preventing the slow decline Bezos describes is to develop a culture where the entrepreneurial mindset is prevalent.
Nurture a culture where everyone in the company is equipped and empowered to operate in their daily work in a manner that fuels company growth. Foster an environment where everyone on your team has a strong degree of connectedness and passion for their role, and how it benefits your customers. Grow a team of people who are fanatical about solving your customers’ problems like none other.
When you do, you’ll build a team that makes producing the remarkable a habit. They’ll develop and maintain the type of intimacy with your customers that enables you to make them feel like they belong with you.
Here are some resources to further explain why company culture is so important, along with tips on how to cultivate an entrepreneurial one.
How Nike, Disney, and The Ritz Carlton built cultures that always deliver great customer experiences
Delivering the remarkable happens by design. And these three iconic brands demonstrate that company culture is the foundation for delivering remarkable experiences that help you win more customers. Here’s how these companies baked remarkable into their DNA. Photo by Kyle Sterk.
Everyone on your team has a role to play in delivering remarkable experiences to your customers. Experiences that draw them closer to you. If you don’t already have a culture where everyone has the day 1, entrepreneurial mentality, here are some practical steps to help you get there. Photo by Randy Fath.
Startups have a certain vibe to them. They are nimble, they optimistic, they are fearless. Well, at least the successful ones are. But the companies that grow rapidly, are able to maintain that mindset whether they have 20, 2,000, or 20,000 employees. Here’s how. Photo by rawpixel.
A lot of people think company culture is a bit to woo woo. They don’t always see how cultivating a certain mindset or operating norms translates to business results. Well, here’s an unfortunate example of a company whose disconnected culture cost them big. Culture impacts your bottom line. Here’s how to make sure it adds to it, rather than subtracts. Photo by Erwin Voortman.
Innovation happens by design. If you want your business to innovate over time, you’ve got to cultivate norms that make your company fertile ground for good ideas to thrive. But it’s not just about the ideas. Ideas won’t do you much good if you don’t have the kind of team, culture, or mindset to make them a reality. Here’s how to make sure innovation becomes synonymous with your brand. Photo by Jill Heyer.
What better way to learn about the entrepreneur mindset, then from a group of entrepreneurs? These days, lots of companies are engaging in all kinds of tactics and experiments to spend more time with entrepreneurs and startups, in the hopes that some of their “essence” will rub off on them, so they can infuse it back into their company. The good news is, I interviewed a boatload of entrepreneurs for you, and they provided some simple insight into what you need to focus on to think and behave like the elite ones do. Check it. Photo by Robert Szadkowski.
I have a feeling that mediocre is not the standard you are striving for. Mediocre and remarkable aren’t really on the same playing field, and they definitely don’t bring the same type of results. But far too many businesses specialize in mediocre. Here’s how to make sure you don’t. Photo by Joseph Greve.
Get used to this notion. Sustainable success doesn’t come without failure. Neither does innovation. Of course, the goal isn’t to go out and fail on purpose. But, to deliver the remarkable on a consistent basis, you’ve got to invest time figuring out what works, what doesn’t, and why. If that makes you uneasy, tune into these stories for further convincing. Photo by rawpixel.
Once you get on board that failure is a necessary part of your journey to remarkable, take a moment to figure out what to do with the failures when they do come. Success leaves clues. And so does failure. Here are practical ways to extract the gifts that failure leaves you, so you can do better next time. Photo by chuttersnap.
Want more creating a winning company culture? Drop me a note at sonia at soniaethompson.com and we can start the conversation.