I have had the privilege of meeting many business owners over my 20+ years in business and I would be hard pressed to find one that would ever say, “I don’t want a culture of excellence in my company.” The reality, however, is that very few businesses actually manage to create the culture of excellence they strive for. If you don’t believe me, just think about how many customer service issues you’ve had with businesses you regularly do business with. I’m guessing it’s a lot! We’ve all been to that place where we deal with the employee that is rude or doesn’t care about the quality of his or her work. We walk away thinking “I can’t be the only one that they treat like this. Why do the managers tolerate this behavior?”
Now, the reason why there are so many customer service nightmare stories out there is because – while excellence is a value everyone likes to talk about – very few businesses are willing to do the hard work necessary to make excellence a reality. They strive for it, yes, but they never really get there.
However, if you’re one of those leaders who doesn’t just want to talk excellence but actually wants to deliver it, here are a few ideas for how you can go about creating a culture of excellence which will produce better products and services, attract more customers, retain more customers, create more raving fans of your business, and bolster your word-of-mouth marketing.
It Starts at the Top
At their core, values are learned more than taught. If you want to dramatically increase your team’s commitment to excellence, then you need to evaluate your own commitment to excellence first. I’m not trying to be overly blunt; I’m just saying that excellence flows from the top down. So if you don’t like the level at which your employees are delivering excellence, then the first place to start would be with Leadership.
When you look at your own personal output, would you say it screams excellence or not? If you’re not personally committed to a life of excellence, then your employees won’t be either. Remember what I said before – excellence is learned more than taught. So make sure your employees see excellence in everything YOU do. The more you do so, the more they will figure out, “This is the way things WILL be done around here!”
At Synapse, we have worked very hard over the years to clearly define our culture and make sure that the people we hire fit perfectly into it. Think of your company like a big puzzle – every piece is very different but each one is a perfect fit when placed in the right position. Put all the pieces in the right place and you get a completed puzzle that becomes a clear picture!
We have defined our culture through ten very powerful commandments that our employees must adhere to at all times. In order to ensure that our team is reminded of those commandments each and every day, we had them put on the walls all around our office. Every day, these commandments are “in our faces.” At Synapse, there is NO mistaking what we believe in.
The 10 Commandments that make someone a Synapsian are:
- 1. Commitment – clients first.
- 2. Accountability – take ownership.
- 3. Respect – everyone counts.
- 4. Empowerment – proactive actions.
- 5. Positivity – attitude matters.
- 6. Creativity – devise solutions.
- 7. Entrepreneurialism – push boundaries.
- 8. Authenticity – genuine intentions.
- 9. Excellence – exceed expectations.
- 10. Collaboration – work together.
Defining your culture is the first step to creating a better workplace, but you have to enforce it for it to be effective. You can’t simply talk about the idea of excellence. Nor can you simply put it in a list of core values and just display them on a wall. You have to ensure excellence is practiced day in and day out—and you have to be consistent about it.
In fact, if you’re a parent, you know that you can’t simply say once to a child, “Do this…” and expect them to do it. You also can’t be lackadaisical about it and enforce it every now and then or just most of the time. We all know how that works out. The same is true at work with our employees. Being consistent is the key along with holding people accountable for not following the guidelines that have been established for them.
Remember, your job as a leader is not to be liked by everyone. Your job as a leader is to produce results through other people—and that often means being the “bad guy.” You’re the one who has to say, “I’m sorry, that’s not up to our standard of quality. You need to do it over again. Anything else is unacceptable!” A wise man once told me “We never have time to do things right, but we always have time to do them over.” I use that one alot when I need to get this point across clearly.
Creating culture always involves the three key elements listed above. If you remove any of the three from the equation, the probability of creating an excellent culture dies quickly. Moreover, if those three things aren’t done consistently and continually, culture change dies with it. So, as you look at your business, which of these three do you need to work on to create the kind of culture of excellence that you want your business to uphold and your customers to experience?
Want to experience the excellent culture that we have created at Synapse? Reach out to us and let’s Start a Conversation.