Sunday, August 23, 2015

Good corporate culture is always about the Team

One of the topics of late that I have heard a lot of discussion about is how to develop a good corporate culture. There are plenty of books and resources out there that give you all sorts of explanations and suggestions about developing a great corporate culture, however my experience is that they rarely do. To me what works is far simpler than what most of these detail.

Good culture is all simply about 'the team'. This means developing an ethos around the fact that the individuals must grow to focus on the needs of their team mates above their own. Successfully developed, this means that as each individual puts the team first so the team puts the individual first leaving none wanting. It provides the security that you know your team mates are always there. It provides the commitment that the individual must also be there for the team.

Building a culture around being a good member of the 'team' means developing people who are able to lead and be lead when required without hesitation. It also means being able to support and provide support when required again without hesitation. This focus on the collective good above the individual builds bonds that are extremely strong, resilient and accomplish much more than a group of individuals could. Most importantly it builds trust, a foundation sorely missing in most organisations.

The development of a true 'team' culture provides a sense of belonging and being part of something bigger, something more important that any individual need. It provides a sense of pride, espirit d'corp that can in many cases rival family bonds. Your team mates are your family, they are your friends, they are your confidants, they will be there when you need them just as you must be there for them, without question, without judgment and without reservation. Everyone wants to be part of a true team culture but creating this takes work.

Developing a good team relies on shared experiences, good and bad, for it is through these shared experiences that team members come to understand and appreciate their own strengths and weaknesses along with those in their team. The strength of the team is that they compensate for the weakness of each other so deficiencies are minimised. Their combination provides the strength and the support for members to excel beyond their own limitations. They strive to excel for the team, not for themselves. They strive to not let their team mates down because they know this is exactly what their team mates are doing for them.

Developing good corporate culture is not difficult. It is about focusing on developing a true 'team' approach within a business, which in essence fosters the devotion of individual to their team mates above themselves. So how do you foster such a devotion and focus on the team? Good leadership, that's how. Good leaders inspire a team approach and promote trust. Good leaders are the ones who stand up first for the team, they lead by example and through their actions they inspire the best in those around them. Good leadership is not an ability, it is a skill. It can be learned. It can be developed.

Good corporate culture is straight forward, finding good leaders is tough. Good leaders are the ones who do for others and the greater good naturally without looking for something in return. They are the ones you need to develop a truly great culture but sadly in today's narcissistic world these true leaders are few and far between. Thus, if you want a good culture, recruit and develop the best leaders. Not managers. Leaders. Find those who are about others first because without them there is no trust or foundation for a good team. Once you have these individuals the development of the successful team will be so much easier. However, never forget, good corporate culture is always all about 'the team' first and foremost.

I suggest you have a look at this talk by Simon Sinek to understand more about good leadership that is such a critical part of developing good teams and thus good corporate culture.