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How to Kickstart a Great Culture

Do you like Mondays? Culture has everything to do with whether or not Mondays are a drag or delicious. This week I’ve got a podcast episode coming out interviewing Colin Ellis on his insights around creating a great culture. In the meantime, here is a great starting point - writing a culture manifesto.

How do you like Mondays?

It’s a great litmus test for the state of your culture at work. (It’s also linked to a great book on culture called Great Mondays by Josh Levine who I interviewed on the podcast.

We can love our work, love our purpose, but if the people stuff in culture drives us nuts, it’s an uphill battle.

It’s a complex issue, but thankfully it has some simple solutions. The starting point is knowing what we want in the culture. We build on it from there in our policies, our procedures, and our commitments to one another.

My Canberra Amplifiers group is focused on culture this week in their quarterly one day immersion. Culture is one of those ‘important but not urgent’ topics that, if neglected, can derail a business. In Amplifiers, we make room for the ‘important and not urgent’ to get progress and take action on the things that matter most, like culture. 

One of the exercises is to write a manifesto. A manifesto is a public declaration of intentions and beliefs. For culture, it’s about how you intend to operate. I was inspired to include this after an interview with Charlene Li on her latest book, The Disruption Mindset (episode to be released soon on the podcast). Part of the success in innovative companies is the establishment of a Manifesto to guide their purpose and focus. She cited Gretchen Rubin’s writings as tremendous examples of great manifestos. Read them here.

This is a great exercise to do with your team. What do you believe in? How do you want to operate? When it comes to culture, I called this developing your Culture Compass in my book, Loyalty – stop unwanted staff turnover, build engagement, and build lifelong advocates. The Manifesto sharpens the Culture Compass into a snappy creed.

Here is an example from one I have been developing for myself:

  • How you do one thing is how you do everything.
  • Be kind.
  • Enough is the key to happiness.
  • Nature is the best tonic.
  • Play!

Here’s one I’ve been drafting to share with the team to develop our manifesto:

  • Feedback helps our garden grow.
  • Treat every client as an honoured guest.
  • If you can make it better, do it.
  • Will it make the boat go faster?
  • ‘Fess up, don’t fester.
  • Share the wins.
  • Honour each other.

Do you have a culture manifesto? Share it in the comments!

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Related Articles:

Culture touchpoints: Your key to stoking the fire

Why experience at work is critical to your business results

From munity to loyalty: a leader’s guide

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