When you look up the definition of culture, it says:
(n) the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group
Additionally, the verb, or biology, definition of culture is:
(v) maintain (tissue cells, bacteria, etc.) in conditions suitable for growth
Though different in usage, both meanings of the word culture possess striking similarities when you are discussing the topic of company culture. A company’s customs, and its people can have a direct impact on the conditions that are suitable for its growth, or lack thereof. In episode 8 of The Relentless, Dr. Gurner sits down with teacher, advisor, and former Chief People and Culture of Officer Starbucks®, Lululemon Athletica, and Stitch Fix®, Margo Downs, to talk about what else, but culture and company growth. This episode has proven to be one of our favorites because we recorded it live, in front of some of our most relentless affiliates, at the CENTURY 21 Leadership Summit in Palm Springs, California.
Margo is no stranger to the game of growing a company and its culture. She managed to help scale the growth for well known companies such as Lululemon, Starbucks, and Stitch Fix. Helping a company to grow its employees to accommodate its growth is one thing but if you are also able to help the company build a rich internal culture that impacts its customers, now you’re talking!
The key to building culture, according to Margo, is authenticity. She believes that when you are authentic, or your truest self, you have better retention and an overall better customer experience.
Why is culture so important? Simply put; culture is about knowing your strengths and being able to play to those strengths, which allows you to attract the people that are the right fit. A strong culture doesn’t just impact and benefit businesses internally but, it shapes how your customers see you externally. Margo believes it says what’s important to your brand, this is what’s important to your consumers.
Here are some key takeaways from this episode that can help impact any business, whether it’s a business of 1, or 1,000.
- Learn to receive constructive feedback- Feedback isn’t always easy but, it can be a great tool for growth and internal reflection. Feedback challenges you to see habits or behaviors about yourself, from another perspective, while sharing ways it can also help with personal and professional development.
- Decide how you want to operate- Ensuring that your company programs, policies, and philosophies align with the culture you want to establish, will help determine how your company operates. Your operations should be a direct reflect of your internal values.
- Be very explicit about who you are and who you are not– Define the behaviors you’d want to see. Define how you’d want your brand to be viewed by others, and then be specific on adhering to those behaviors.
Creating an internal culture is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Keep in mind that being intentional on carrying out the behaviors you want your customers to ascribe to your brand is key, because if there is not intentionality, a culture will, in fact be created, but it may not be the one you want.
Learn more of how you can create values and vision for your business by listening to episode 8 of The Relentless. #jointheconversation