Communication is a Key Ingredient to Your Company Culture
We’ve all heard the expression, “The fish rots from the head down,” meaning poor leadership is the cause of organizational failure. Conversely, strong leadership sets you up for success, and is especially true in nurturing company culture. Each organization has a culture whether it is one that is carefully nurtured or one that is allowed to just “happen.”
How business leaders model or encourage communication with and among their teams is one influencer on company culture. In our “busyness,” it is easy to lose touch with many of the important people serving your clients every day.
For me, company culture emanates from a set of core values that defines who you are as a company rather than what you do. Then, it mixes with what bubbles up organically, based on day-to-day interactions and the relationships among your team members. The latter, the “intangibles,” is what brings personality to the company and, consequently, adds to its culture.
When I joined Alliance Franchise Brands a little more than three years ago, I continued a tradition that I’ve done in some shape or form since early in my career. I regularly meet with several team members at a time, over a brown bag lunch, in one of our conference rooms. The group’s makeup varies and is typically people from different parts of the organization who may work together frequently or not.
It’s both informal and informative. I walk out of these lunches feeling great about our team, happy to have learned more about their childhoods, travel, families, previous jobs, hobbies - all the things that make us who we are. I also get a lot of great feedback and ideas about our work. Many of the suggestions, often about building culture, we can put into practice right away.
If you find you’re talking more to your people than they’re getting an opportunity to talk to you, I highly recommend this type of thing. When everyone has the freedom to use their voices, it’s amazing how much you hear - face-to-face - when you listen.
Like many, we do an annual employee survey to collect workplace metrics. It’s a good thing to do. Sprinkling in these lightly guided chats has also proven to be a wonderful way to hear a wide range of views, genuinely get to know each other better and build clear communication into the company culture.
What contributes to your company culture? Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Cushing leads the Allegra, American Speedy Printing, Insty-Prints, KKP, Speedy Printing and Zippy Prints brands as president of Alliance Franchise Brands' Marketing and Print Division.
Alliance Franchise Brands LLC, the parent company of Allegra Network LLC and Sign and Graphics Operations LLC, is a world leader in marketing, visual and graphics communications, linking more than 600 locations in North America and the United Kingdom. The Marketing and Print Division is headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. Franchise owners in this division offer one-stop marketing and print communications services. Its Sign and Graphics Division, headquartered in Middle River, Maryland, includes Image360, Signs By Tomorrow and Signs Now brands of sign, graphics and visual communications providers.
Cushing has owned and operated award-winning franchise locations, was inducted into Epicomm's Soderstrom Society, and was named Print CEO of the Year in 2011 when he served as CEO of AlphaGraphics Inc.