Hi there, Peter here and welcome back to the Transition Guy.

On today’s episode we’re going to be covering company culture and core values. So many business owners come to me moaning about their team. That their team is not quite right, they’re not happy with their team, that they spend a lot of time trying to manage their team, that it drains them of energy and it’s not the most pleasant thing going.

Do you consider your employees the biggest risk in your business?

Some of the symptoms that business owners talk about is the fact that they consider their employees to be the biggest risk in their business. Their communication with their employees tends to be just top down, one directional. You might value skill over behavior. How good is a person as opposed to how well do they behave? You find yourself managing time all the time with them. You have a rigid sort of work schedule because you kind of just have no trust with your team. It’s a be at your desk policy. You may find that these people actually don’t work for you they work for the weekend, so they come in on a Monday morning, they bitch and moan that they’re back at work, trying to recover from the weekend. By Wednesday they’re no longer thinking about their business, they’re thinking about the weekend coming up. You get one good day out of them and that’s probably a Tuesday.

The organization has double standards. Are the core values and culture in your business properly defined?

Now if you can relate to some of these symptoms and they’re alive in your organization, the chances are you do not have properly defined core values and your culture in your business can be quite toxic, or in fact is quite toxic. The last 20 years the old term core values or company culture has become a lot more prevalent. It’s normally what you would associate with the big corporate businesses and there’s great examples of companies like Zappos where core values are so strong it actually makes the company really great. For those of you who have never shopped at Zappos, they’re in the states, shop with them, give their customer care team a call, and their values are superb. They’re a great example of it in action.

Core values are a handful of rules – your rules.

Really where SMEs tend to struggle is they don’t put this stuff in place. They never hire on core values, they never define their core values and therefore most people are then sort of confused that they don’t have the team that they want. What are actually core values? Quite simply put, they’re a handful of rules. Most importantly they are your rules, so the first thing you need to do as a business owner is really identify what your core values are and get them written down. Too often I see businesses with core values in a drawer. Not communicated to the team with the owners still have the same symptomatic problems illustrated earlier. Get them written down, get them displayed. One of the biggest challenges you may face actually is that you hired a lot of people without really hiring them on core values, just hiring them on ability, etc. You might find there’s a mismatch. Normally what you would say is that time and adversity is the best test to work out whether a person is a culture fit or not.

These three basic tests can help you sort whether your employee is culture or core value fit.

I appreciate you probably don’t want to wait until the next recession. You probably don’t want the next recession to come anytime soon, so we have three basic tests we can carry out to see whether or not someone’s a culture fit or a core value fit. What are the three tests you can do in your organization today to see whether the culture or core values are alive? Number one, are you prepared to fire an offender? Let’s say you got your core values and it might be trust, respect, team work, whatever they may be. If someone violates that are you going to fire them? Now here a lot of you, and I see a lot of people hesitate, when I actually ask this question, and the reason they sort of hesitate, they don’t come out with an answer, they don’t take action is because they will say to me, “It’s easy for you to say that. It’s taken us ages to find this person, we’ve had to pay recruitment fees, etc. etc. etc.”

Number one: if it’s a true core value to you, anyone who violates that you’re going to fire them.

They come out with loads of reasons why they cannot do it. Well you need to come above the line, that’s the previous episode in case you are wondering, and you need to be prepared to fire the offender, otherwise they’re not your true core values. See, if it’s a true core value to you, anyone who violates that you’re going to fire them. That’s number one. Number two, are you prepared to take a financial hit? Are you prepared to take a dip in sales? Let’s say he’s your greatest sales person bringing a lot of sales into the business, but they’re violating your core values left, right and center and they’re damaging your business. Are you prepared to stand by your guns and say, “No, I’m going to fire this person,” bad for the business, take a financial hit and rebuild?

Number two: are you prepared to take a financial hit? Are you prepared to take a dip in sales?

The third one – are your core values alive amongst your people today? Unfortunately people get really confused with this. A lot of people say okay, do you know what, I’ll do my core values against the company I’d like to be, not the company I am today. It doesn’t work that way. Your core values are where you are today as a company, you’ve just got to make sure that the people in your organization are living them. If they’re not you’ve got the wrong team. If you’ve got the wrong team you’re going to be dealing with the symptoms we discussed earlier. How do I know when I get it right? You will have absolutely amazing atmosphere in your business. You’re not going to dread speaking to people. You’re going to love hanging out with people. You’re going to see your employees as being your biggest asset.

Number three: your core values should be alive amongst your people in the organization or company. Your core values are where you are today as a company, you’ve just got to make sure that the people in your organization are living them.

There’s going to be open communication, there’s going to be no hiding things. You’re going to be looking at hiring people based on behavior not over skill. Do you know why? Because skills can always be taught. You’re going to be able to have a team that you can empower results. You’re not going to be micro managing them because they’ve got the attributes and the attitude to do the right things. They’re going to be flexible with their working. It’s not going to be about how many hours they work, it’s going to be how effective they are when they come into work. You’re going to look at people that are mobile, not necessarily stuck to their desk. They’re doing something that they love. To them, they’re not thinking about the weekend because they’re enjoying the Monday to Friday, or Monday to Saturday or whatever you work. They’re going to be enjoying the journey every single day.

Hire people based on behavior, not over skill because skills can always be taught.

There’s going to be a genuine honesty within the business and there’s going to be one standard. There’s not going to be the hypocrisy of these people do one thing and these other people do the other. No, we are united. We are as one. Jim Collins in his book Good to Great talks about your first 20 hires being the most important. Not the first 20 people you hire, but the first 20 people that you’ve got totally aligned with your culture and core values. Now if you get those 20 people right, you’ll scale up your organization and they will be the keepers of your culture. They will help you with recruitment and make sure that your business operates in the way you truly intended it.

If you are interested in finding more about core values, your company culture and actually the pathway to identifying what your core values are and how to make them alive in your organization, head over to Boolkah.com and fill out the contact form and get in touch. Remember, failure to learn is learning to fail.