I'm sure you know culture is important for a company, for a team, for a group of people, but maybe you don't know how to go about creating an awesome company culture. Well, today I want to tell you exactly how to do that. Hi, my name is Eric Partaker, and I coach CEOs, entrepreneurs, leaders, and help them close that gap between who they are and who they're capable of being not just with themselves but also with their companies. Today I'm going to take you through step-by-step how you can go about creating an awesome company culture for your group or team.
The first thing that you need to do is define your why. What is this culture trying to achieve? When I was building up a restaurant chain, a Mexican restaurant chain called Chilango, the number one reason for our existence, we said we existed to make the world a more vibrant place, that we added flavor to people's lives and that we brightened up their days.
That one word distillation of the brand was vibrancy and everyone understood that why and it permeated everything that we did as a company culture. It even influenced the menu development, the restaurant interiors and of course the people. When we were hiring we were looking for the people who are naturally vibrant. The people who if you just were around they would just brighten up your day. But all of that was informed by our why.
Number two, you need to define what is it that you as a group value? And really for that why session determining why you exist as well as your company values, I would highly encourage you to try to do this as a facilitated session, you can actually do both of those. Bringing someone in, key members of the company or the team that you think most represent what you're all about and help them uncover within you or discover what are the things that the team truly values, what's truly important for this group of people?
This could be influenced by external things going on in the market, but also just the result of who the people are. And another lens that you might want to look at is if the team has already been around for some period of time, look at who you've promoted, why did you promote those people? And also look at people who didn't work out, what were the reasons that they didn't work out? Because the antithesis of those reasons are also things that then therefore you must value as a company.
For example if somebody didn't work out because they were very unfocused and unstructured in their approach, it may be that you highly value as a group focus and structure. Once you determined your why and you know what you value as a group you need to circulate that with everyone, you need everyone's feedback. Even those involved in the process might have a change of heart once they see it written down. And depending on the size of the company, you may not have been able to involve everyone in the process.
And you want to send that out, your why and your values, and you want to be asking some key questions such as, what would you do to improve upon this and what might be missing? When we describe what we're all about as a company or as a team, what's missing? When we describe why we're doing this, what our vision is, what's missing? When we describe what it is that we value in each other and others who might join our team, what's missing? And that will help you really to make sure that, well, it's as good as it can be and that you're not missing anything.
Number four, we want to hire against these values. We want to develop questions that relate to the values and help us uncover whether within that person that we're interviewing those values are present. Another quick example, at the restaurant chain that I built that I referenced before, we had four core values of principled, offbeat, fun, determined. We had questions within our interviews that related to those values, such as tell me about the last time that you had fun? Or which related to the fun value obviously. Or tell me about at a time when you chose to take a course of action which you knew was right but perhaps not popular which was talking about that principal value. Or we might've asked a question such as, tell me about a time when you just had to persevere and take action, perhaps despite not feeling like it. And that would be a chance for them to demonstrate how determined they were as an individual.
Number five, you want to make sure that you're discussing these values frequently as well as your mission. And one of the ways that you can be doing this, especially as you've newly created this, when you're still in installation mode if you will, is in your weekly team meetings, both as a leadership team and perhaps pushed down to the individual sub teams is have them discuss the mission and the values weekly. One of the simple things you can do with mission is simply ask people in the meeting to, "Well, what is our mission? Can anyone recite that mission?
And then with the values you could be asking people to come to the weekly team meeting or your staff meeting, whatever you're doing with one example of a value in the past week that they thought that they really championed, that they were really living and representing, and one area or value that they felt that they could be doing a better job at, that they could be playing a higher level game at or taking things up a level. And that's a simple way for you to start bringing these mission and values into your discussions more frequently.
Number six, we want to include these values in our performance reviews. Performance reviews typically focus just on competence, but we also want to make sure that we're having a discussion. Even if you're not formally evaluating the team member against the values you at least want to talk about them. Using the example that I gave earlier, how principled do you feel that you've been in the last quarter? How off-beat has been your approach to problem-solving?
To keep an open mind how fun have you been living? Are you enjoying yourself? Are you doing things to keep yourself smiling? How determined do you feel that you've been? Just talk about them, have them as a discussion point, not just on a frequent basis, weekly as we talked about before but also in a bit more of a self-reflective basis as part of your performance review process.
Number seven, think about how you can reward and recognize people who are living these values. One of the simplest things that you can do here is as part of your quarterly planning or whatever process that you use to set goals for the company, have an award ceremony. And maybe have each of the values, as for example, a separate trophy that will be awarded to the member of the team or the employee that you felt most represented that value, that was most living whatever that value is about.
And here's another thing that you can do. The decision for who that person could be, could be voted on by everyone in the company. Everyone is casting in their vote so that you feel like you're getting a strong representation from your people about who most represents whatever set of values that you're measuring people against.
Then number eight, make sure that you promote and fire according to your values as well as your why. In the restaurant chain example that I built, I talked about how our why was vibrancy. We weren't going to be promoting somebody in the company who wasn't exuding vibrancy, who was making things less than vibrant. Equally, when it came to our values we weren't going to promote somebody in the company who we didn't feel represented those key values of being principled, offbeat, fun and determined.
And similarly if we decided to get rid of somebody it wasn't just for competence, it would also be linked to, well, are they being vibrant? Are they supporting that mission to make the world a more vibrant place, to add flavor to people's lives, to brighten up people's days or are they darkening things? And again on the flip side of the values, are they perhaps not being principled, not being offbeat, fun, or determined?
You really can create an awesome company culture if you take the time to number one, define your why. Number two, define what you value as a team. Number three, circulate that draft with people in your company to get feedback on, how could you improve it? What might be missing? Number four, if you make sure that you're hiring against it. Number five, if you make sure that you're discussing these values on a frequent basis. Number six, if you build that discussion and that deeper self-reflection into your performance review process as well.
Number seven, make sure that you're rewarding and recognizing against the mission and the values. And number eight, make sure that you're also promoting and firing if you need to against those mission and values. And if you do all of that you're guaranteed to help create an awesome company culture for you and your team.