Stop “working” on your firm’s culture
Now that I’ve gotten your attention with my provocative title, let’s discuss how to build your firm’s culture to be so sticky that no one wants to leave your firm. As you build a firm, maintaining a healthy culture for your team is a worthy pursuit. If your team leaves, it will blow up your firm and side track all of your growth plans (and we’ve even seen a poor culture end the life of a firm).
Culture is often a by-product of doing many other things right. Let’s define firm culture as the genetic code of your firm, or the personality of your firm. Culture always exists, even if you are the only one in the firm. The culture is an expression of the owner(s), and is changed, affected, tweaked, made better, and hurt by team members that come and go. We could say your culture is a stew, with the recipe being designed by the owner, and the team seasoning the stew with their own individual flavoring. Some teams add to the flavor, while others can bring a bad taste to the stew, affecting its savoriness for everyone.
There are a lot of things firm leaders can do to enhance and strengthen firm culture, but there is some truth in that working directly on firm culture doesn’t work (or isn’t really a necessary work). As mentioned above, culture happens when other things are done well or poorly in building a firm. I’ve talked about this in the video “Accountability Keeps the Core Aspects of Your Firm Running.” Check it out.
Think of the three ideals above as three separate buckets filled with thoughts, plans and directives from the owner. Now, think of your collective team as a sponge. The team is regularly dipped into these three buckets, absorbing whatever is in these buckets. After dipping the ‘Team Sponge’ in the three buckets, you could then squeeze the team and what would come out would be culture. If the three buckets are 5-week-old mop water, then the Team Sponge will absorb bitterness, negativity and an absent leader. And, a culture of discouragement, infighting and chaos would squeeze out of the Team Sponge. But, if the leader is focused on building a healthy firm, then they are keeping their three core ideal buckets full of relevancy, clarity, consistency, care and accountability. Then, when you squeeze the Team Sponge, a culture of a bright future, a love for the collective team and the firm, and a knowledge of the importance of their work comes out!
We are stretching our analogy here, but hopefully you get the point that culture is simply a by-product of keeping other things healthy in a firm. Keep your buckets clean, and your culture water will be clean, too.
If you want to grow and learn more about how to do this in your firm, then Thriveal’s Incubator is for you. This is a two-and-a-half day intense journey of laying down eight foundational core concepts to keep your firm healthy as it grows. We teach and workshop through these concepts with a small handful of firm entrepreneurs that are working to build firms of the future. Thanks to Intuit, you can get 43 percent off of the Incubator with code intuitqbo when you register here. But, hurry … there are only five spots left for the Incubator May 2019 dates: May 16-18.