Company culture seems to be an elusive thing for many business owners. It’s something intangible, hard-to-define, and frankly frustrating. There seem to be so many ingredients that blend together to create a great business culture, and yet, no one knows the secret formula.
While we can’t tell you how to build your company culture, as every culture is (and should be) different and unique, we can give you an inside look at our culture here at PHOS: our “secret recipe”, so to speak.
At PHOS, culture is a core value of our community, and we’d love to share our insights into what we think makes PHOS so unique.
Leading from Love
As one of our Core Values, love serves as a foundation for everything we do here. Leadership is also one of our core values, and they often connect and work together.
We strive to be leaders here at PHOS, but it comes from a place of humility and servanthood, not power. We believe that to truly lead others effectively, one must be a leader worth following.
So what does leading from love look like? It’s about serving.
From our Company Culture handbook:
“Be a great leader that others look up to: an exemplary servant who brings vision, clarity, insight, wisdom, and support to our clients and team.”
Serving isn’t always a fun or easy thing to do, which is what sets leaders apart: they do the work to create a great team and be an example for their peers. They are the ones to roll up their sleeves, have the tough conversations, do the dirty work – and they do it all in the service of improving others outside of themselves.
Collaboration is more important than ever in our increasingly connected world. Yet, many businesses still struggle with weaving this into their company culture. “Working in a silo” is a business term that emerged over 30 years ago, and is still giving business owners pain to this day.
You’d think with all the technology allowing us to connect that we’d be pretty good at it by now, but studies continue to show the exact opposite. So how do we fight against the wave of isolation that is so prevalent in our businesses and culture?
Communicate honestly, respectively, effectively, and humbly… a lot.
When we all feel comfortable to speak our minds, we are much more likely to contribute to making processes better. A healthy company culture allows for the free flow of thoughts and opinions, open (but kind) debate, and overall improvement.
At PHOS, our collaboration comes from a place of respect and an overall goal from all parties to improve whatever we’re collaborating on. We don’t just talk for the sake of talking – our collaboration is purposeful and constructive. We take feedback without being defensive because we know that the feedback comes from a genuine place of respect.
We build each other up, listen, and grow together.
From our Company Culture handbook:
“When it comes to the style of communication within our team, think brothers and sisters. We want you to share strong opinions. Siblings are willing to bring the debate, shrug, and move forward. We want you to bring your best ideas to the table, hash out an awesome plan and be willing to follow and support the decisions that are made.”
Learning isn’t an act – it’s an attitude.
Developing a mindset for growth means you understand that you don’t know everything: that there’s always something new to learn, that every mistake can teach you something, and that your journey to wisdom will never be complete.
Inside of a business, learning can take many different forms: a suite of tools that educate your team, continuing education events, conferences, training, and many others.
However, at PHOS, learning is ingrained in our culture. We are always challenging ourselves and each other to push the limits of our knowledge. We share new articles and things we’ve learned with our team. We share what we think about the new stuff – how it can be put to the best use.
Don’t let the “learning” aspect of this intimidate you though – the truth is that learning is born out of a passion for your industry and a commitment to constant improvement. If you and your people love what you do, learning more about your industry and how to improve won’t feel like a chore. In fact, you’re doing it now just by reading this article! #killinit
From our Company Culture handbook:
“You should constantly be learning, seeking out new training and leading our team and industry in methodology, thought leadership, and execution. If right now you’re the best you’ll ever be, that’s a problem.”
In a business, it’s sometimes easy to take the “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself” approach… But what does that really do for you? It ultimately leads to your own stress, burn-out, and a corporate culture choked by control.
So instead of trying to do it all yourself, why not lean on the people you’ve hired to help you succeed?
This doesn’t mean you simply point to an objective and tell your employees that they need to get it done. You will still need to have the reigns on your vision, but you also need to trust your employees to do what needs to be done to make it happen.
At PHOS, our approach to empowering people is to provide the right tools, insights, data, technology, and anything else we may need to “get it done”. Every week at our team meetings, Brandon West (our CEO) will ask the team, “Is there anything you need from me or from PHOS?”
This just sounds like a simple question, but to the trained ear, this is an invitation directly from the CEO of our company to be empowered. Anything we need is provided, and this simple act implicitly states, “PHOS is here for you.”
If you need help getting started with empowering your people, Forbes has a great list of ten ideas, but ultimately empowerment stems from trust. Trust you’ve chosen the right people for the job, trust their abilities, trust their capability, and you might be surprised by how much they will do for you when given the tools and space to get the job done.
Communicating Vision Consistently
Speaking of empowerment, our mission at PHOS is to “empower our clients to market through their mission to reach their vision”. So let’s talk vision: what is your vision for the future of your company? Have you communicated that vision to your employees? What strategies do you have in place to get there?
A vision serves as your company’s compass: guiding your objectives to a common goal and measuring your success with it. Your values, mission, and purpose all intersect to propel your vision forward.
But where do your people fit into your vision? They make it happen.
It’s vital to consistently communicate your vision with your team and make them part of the process. If your employees are in the dark about the company vision, how can they help make it happen? Employees need to know how their roles interweave into the larger goals of your business.
Not only will this keep your vision clear and front-of-mind, it will also inspire your employees to recognize the importance of their work and their place in the larger picture.
It’s also important to keep your team engaged and involved in every step of the process. Have them brainstorm projects that will drive the objectives you’ve set, and then let them own it (see section above).
At PHOS, vision is more than a nice-sounding, pie-in-the-sky future statement: it is our driving force and fuels every objective we work on. We all know the vision by heart, we understand our role in making it a reality, and, most importantly, we’re excited about it.
“It’s not what the vision is, it’s what the vision does.” ~ Peter Senge
So now you know a few of the ingredients of the PHOS secret “company culture” sauce. PHOS is unique, but so is your business. Hopefully these ingredients help you create a rich company culture of your own, seasoned with success.