Organisational Culture

organisational cultureOne of my clients, Sharon, owns a hair salon. She employs a team of 6 ladies, the youngest is just 16. I’m sure you can imagine, she has her hands full keeping the team focussed and working together. It’s not because they’re not good at their jobs, it’s a challenge business owners face every day – it’s just human nature. The juniors feel threatened, the seniors feel they are not being listened to… and why can’t we read our text messages at work?

We thought a workshop on Organisational Culture might be a good way of addressing a range of issues effectively. Here’s an outline of what we’re going to cover.

Definition of Organisational Culture
• Very simply, the way we do things around here. The shared values and beliefs of the team.

Why Are We Here
• Our organisational culture impacts on how we deliver our brand and our customer service. And these impact our sales. Get it right, we grow. Get it wrong, we close!

Where Do We Start
• We start by agreeing the Vision and Mission of the organisation. These are largely dictated by the business owner as the business should be a reflection of the owner’s dreams and aspirations. We are planning to invite the team to make a contribution to the Vision and Mission statements, as both should include a team member’s perspective. But at the end of the day, the owner has the last word. “It’s my bus, if you want to come for the ride, you do it my way”.

We’ve been doing a lot of work refining the Vision and Mission of the hair salon and we think we’ve got it just about right. Briefly, Sharon has many years of experience and, after seeing ‘how not to do it’ she is keen to get it right. She loves the skill and artistry of long hair styling and works very hard to keep up with contemporary styles and techniques. She and her team regularly receive training from some of Australia’s top stylists and Sharon provides paid skills training to her team every Wednesday. (In case you haven’t realized it by now, she is serious about ‘getting it right’!).

Code of Conduct

• We then move on to discussing the specifics of a ‘code of conduct’. How are we going to treat each other at work? Rather than produce a huge list of rules – do’s and don’ts, we will be focussing on shared values. For example – ‘respect’. Sharon is keen for the juniors to give their more experienced colleagues the respect they deserve, but of course, it goes both ways. We should all treat each other the way we would like to be treated. We will look at these values from the perspective of ‘The Team’ and ‘The Business’. What does each team member expect? At least a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. What does the business need to deliver to it’s customers – the phone to be answered promptly and courteously by the person closest, even if that person is a junior who may not know all the answers.

Some other values we hope to share – a customer focus, professionalism, recognizing achievement, shared contribution… we’ll see what else comes up.

Who Is The Enemy?

• In any hierachy there is bound to be some competition. We are hoping to turn that competitive focus outwards. Instead of competing against their colleagues, Sharon is hoping we can direct these competitive energies into outrunning her competitors. And winning doesn’t mean crushing them into the ground, it means rising so far above them that they are no longer in the same race.

I’m looking forward to it. The team are a great bunch and I’m sure, after the workshop, they’ll realise that work is a fun place to be when everyone agrees to work together.

Richard Everson
Small Fish Business Coaching Murrumbateman

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