Were you forced to reevaluate your company culture over the past few months? Did you like what you discovered? Mostly all businesses today have been taking a look inward as a result of the pandemic. Creating a stellar work-from-home and work/life balance policy and pledging to create a more diverse and inclusive environment in your organization is AMAZING and should be applauded. But this is where accountability comes into play.

If you are a CEO, it is not too late to establish and improve your culture and values. However, you need to make sure you create what I call a culture by design, not a culture by default.

Culture by design is carefully selected company-wide values that motivate employees, delight customers, serve communities, and spark innovation. Your entire team is onboard and promotes your mission and values throughout everything they do whether that is customer-facing, internal, or community-based.

Default values are created in boardrooms and don’t reflect the real, underlying values of the organization. I also refer to these as “bumper sticker values.” They look good on paper but lack any real purpose, meaning, or action within your company.

So, what are some things you should know when making these cultural changes?

  1. First, you need to recognize that change is hard. You will receive a lot of pushback whether that be from your management team, employees, the board of directors, or community. But in order for your business to continue to thrive economically, you need to ensure that your culture has a strong foundation and that means weeding out toxic employees that refuse to align with your values. This absolutely includes senior management.
  2. Second, you need to understand that this change is not going to happen overnight. Yes, your values and mission can be changed instantly, but implementing those values to create your “culture by design” will be a slow process as you build a structurally sound foundation for your culture.
  3. Third, don’t just fall for the superficial culture changes such as pool tables and beer for lunch. Yes, those things could present themselves as great perks for a work environment, but you really need to dig deeper than that in order to see a significant change in your culture. Go layer by layer within your organization to see where your values fit, how your values impact performance and moral, and who no longer fits within your new values.
  4. Fourth, make sure your employees have the resources, tools, and authority they need to contribute to this change. When I transformed by company, I created a half-million-dollar room in the middle of my factory to give every employee, whether you worked in the office or on the factory floor, the ability to collaborate and brainstorm new, innovative ideas with one another.

Businesses are built or destroyed based upon values and culture. And culture is insidious, marvelous, and potentially destructive all at the same time. Ensure that you have the proper team in place who understand and live your values because a toxic/broken culture is only going to hinder growth, innovation, morale, and camaraderie among your organization. Hold yourself accountable. Now is the time for action, not another bumper sticker slogan.


ABOUT STEVE BLUE: With more than 40 years of management, executive, consulting and speaking experience worldwide, Miller Ingenuity CEO Steve Blue (StevenLBlue.com) is a leading mid-market CEO and a globally-regarded business growth authority who has transformed companies into industry giants and enthralled audiences with his dynamic keynotes. He is the author of five books, including his latest “Metamorphosis: From Rust Belt To High Tech In A 21st Century World” and his best-seller “Mastering the Art of Success.” Follow Steve on Twitter @StevenLBlue.