Why A Christmas Party Is NOT Enough To Build Your Company Culture


How’s your company culture? And did you have an office Christmas party?

If you did, you’ve already made a small investment in having a great business culture.

Businesses culture is a very funny and elusive thing, and it’s all too easy to find yourself with a team that feels more like a liability than like an asset.

Importance of team and company culture

I’ve been a business coach for a long time now and I’ve seen both. I’ve seen:

    • Businesses and teams where the culture is great, and people work together, and try to achieve a common goal and support each other;

    • Teams where there’s a lot of friction and conflict and where for the owner, it just feels like the team isn’t there to help him at all.

As a trades business owner in particular, you’re completely dependent on your team. A trades business is a people business, isn’t it?

What you do for your business is people going to site and doing the work, so you’re entirely dependent on them and having a positive, supportive culture is very important for your business. And if you don’t have one, you’ll scratch along being frustrated and uncomfortable wondering why it’s not going as well as it should.

The secret of a good company culture?

So how do some businesses have a good culture and some businesses don’t?

I’ll give you a clue – just a Christmas party’s not enough.

The leader

It starts with you, of course, like many things. You’re the leader. You need to lead the way and it starts with your values. And you’ll have a good chance of having a good culture if you’re working with people who share your values in business, who feel the same way about what’s important in business as you do.

It’s not the only thing but it is very important so you need to take the lead. You’re the leader, you need to take the lead. You need to decide what the business’ values are, what your values are for your business – you need to share that with your team.

It’s one of the first things we do in our Tradies Toolbox Coaching program. We work out what your values are, and we document them, and we make sure that everything you do, and we do stays consistent with those values throughout our program and your business in the future.

It’s very difficult as a person in business to act contrary to your values, to not be consistent with your values. It makes you feel very uncomfortable inside so you’re always going to act in accordance with your values.

Once we’ve documented them, we go ahead and write your strategy, and we make sure that the strategy is consistent with your values too, that we’re going to do things in terms of marketing, and in terms of structure, and in terms of pricing positions and things that are consistent with who you are in business and who you want to be.

I’ll give you a quick example.

If it’s important to you to do really good, quality work, don’t be going out marketing yourselves as cheap because you won’t be cheap. You will insist on staying there long enough to do good quality work so you’ll not make money.

The people

Now back to culture.

Hire people who share your values. (Good idea, right?)

In the interview process, check what values they think are important in business and hire them. Don’t hire somebody who doesn’t show your values.

The same with your existing employees. Go back and ask them. Show them your values. Ask them if they like them. Ask them if they want to belong to a business that has these values driving it as its backbone. And if they don’t, consider getting rid of them. Consider not having them on your team.

And with the ones that do (I know that’s an uncomfortable thing to do by the way, but I think somebody who thinks your values are stupid is going to be detrimental to your business), with everybody else, congratulate each other. Pat each other on the back for being in this together, all involved in a business where you share the values (that’s running according to the values that you share).

A guy called Simon Sinek talks a lot about organisational culture. He works with other bigger businesses. He helps corporates get value and best performance from their employees, and he says that you should all talk about values every day. He proposes you to do an exercise in your daily huddle, that short meeting every morning, where somebody has to say which of the values they’ve espoused or used or felt in tune within the last week or so.

We do this in my business in our team meetings, the 4 of us. We do one a day, every week somebody does one. Which one feels meaningful to you this week? 

And you know what? It’s quite fun. It’s a bit excellent. It takes us out of thinking about what we’ve got to do, and being very focused on the tasks in front of us and things, and makes us think about each other and ourselves and it makes us think about these values and how something has been important to us this week.

It’s actually quite a nice bonding thing, as well as reminding us that these values are important.

I’m going to suggest you do something similar.

It’s a fairly small thing. It makes a difference. It makes us closer as a team. It reminds us that we’re on the same side, that we like each other, that kind of thing. So try it – I dare you.

There are four ways you can engage with me:

1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.

2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.

3. Attend my next Tradie Profit Webinar.

4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.

See you later.

Click here to book a money maker call with Jon.