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TLSA International

TLSA International

Marketing Executive

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Building Company Culture: Turn Passengers Into Participants


Culture is created by shared experiences, characteristics and beliefs amongst a group of individuals. Ask yourself: what kind of culture do you want to work in?

A company’s culture is the product of its employees’ shared experiences at work. Take the example of a busy kitchen in a Michelin star restaurant: if the head chef is insulting, aggressive and unreliable, there will be a culture of low confidence and distrust. However, if the head chef is a good communicator, fair and encouraging, there is likely to be a culture of confidence, trust and fulfilment.

In a corporate context, imagine the case of a software company that is run by tenacious and dominant leaders and managers, with a Managing Director and board who are aloof and avoid engagement with their teams. When staff have issues or there are team disputes, there is little faith the management can resolve the issue. As a result, the company is fragmented and people feel unsupported.

It is in the power of business leaders to change the culture of their company by changing people’s experiences of working there. However, changing people’s lived experiences is much easier said than done if it is to be sustainable; it’s not a matter of having a staff meeting and telling everyone they’re great at their job, it’s about unpicking the very core of a company’s operations and re-focusing them.

By changing a company’s culture for the better, you’re likely to produce more satisfied people, more cohesive teams and a workforce who feel supported in their personal development. This leads to obvious internal benefits, such as low staff turnover, but also promotes external benefits because your staff are bound to feel better at work and provide a greater service to your customers.

Goals, strategies and perceptions

To evaluate your company’s culture, you need to understand your goals and strategies for the future, especially how you want outsiders to perceive you. Are you customer-focused or customer-obsessed? Do you have customer service or customer advocacy? Are your employees staff, partners or shareholders? How much power and autonomy do you grant to your front-line team members?

Start understanding and recognising your people’s achievements, especially when it comes to behaviour. If someone performs well in terms of targets, but undermines and mocks other team members, you may want to evaluate how this impacts on your company culture. 

Although competition and the reward of individual successes has traditionally been the method for motivation in sales, it’s important to prioritise collaboration and a team-based mentality. An office where everyone is vying to promote their own ego and boost their own reputation is not a comfortable place for individuals to develop their skills.

Get the whole team involved

A key way to bring teamwork and collaboration into the fore is by involving team members in helping create sales strategy and sharing the company vision. Instead of treating them like passengers who merely go along with the ride, make sure they become participants who actively buy in to what the company envisages and endorses, and help drive it forward.

Underneath it all, company culture is about return on investment. When a business pays its people, it invests in them. Managers need to ensure that their relationship with their team is mutually beneficial, and that they are getting as much as they can from each other in terms of input, recognition and development.

By Angela Stephenson

Angela is Commercial Director at TLSA International. She has a background in sales and customer service, and now focuses on talent assessment.

Follow us: @TLSAltd

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Author Profile Picture
TLSA International

Marketing Executive

Read more from TLSA International

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