If you think about any game or sport there are always rules to ensure that all the members on both teams know how things are meant to work. Can you imagine the chaos that will happen if a game of rugby had no rules? It sounds pretty obvious that we need rules but as strange as it might sound business owners often have a go at playing the “game of business” with no rules with a rather predictable outcome when it comes to team cohesion, alignment, and the achievement of the goals set.
In business, this is often referred to as the culture of the organisation. A simple definition for culture is, ‘How things work around here.’ For example, if someone in the team makes a mistake or if someone is going through a hard time how is that likely to be dealt with?
Values are the rules of the game and the foundation for an organisation’s culture. Culture will always be birthed, the question is what kind of culture? If a business owner leaves this to chance it is likely to be an aggregation of the values most team members deem important based on the personal frame of reference. Given that typical team members come from a variety of backgrounds it is a big gamble for a business owner to leave the formation of the organisation’s culture to chance.
Business owners have to take charge of the organisational culture – this starts by collaborating with the team and drafting the “rules of the game” or values for the organisation. These will mainly be the values that the owner holds dear but input, alignment, and buy-in needs to be sought from all team members. It is, however, not enough to just draft a set of values and put them on the wall or the website. The business owner needs to actively drive engagement with the values in team meetings and discussions to ensure all team members understand and interpret the values so that it becomes a way of life, for example; how we do things around here. It is also an important part of building the systems of a business, for example; it helps to guide team members to make the right decisions when the owner or management are not around. Team members will also start holding each other accountable for living the values.
Business owners, take control of your organisational culture, playing the game of business with no rules is a huge gamble!
Hein Kruger, ActionCOACH Business Coach