My friend owns a business advisory firm. He is relatively young, and has a mix of old and young emplooyees. He is hardly ever in the office and when he is, he spends a few hours then he leaves. It’s the nature of his business for him to travel often and as an expert in his field, there are demands for his team to provide him with various reports, proposals and business cases, so there is high complexity to their work.
He is successful at what he does, the culture in his his firm is dynamic, the staff is free to work in a way that enables them to deliver on their highest ability. They have flexible times and yet when it comes to their work, they keep delivering and going the extra mile.
When asked on this culture and productivity, my friend said, ” develop those who work for you. Hire the best and don’t be afraid to pay them well.”
He says the culture is what it is because he understands that the work they do takes a lot out of his team. So he allows it to be laid back. He also empowers them to make judgement calls. He says this is important to creating a good work ethic and getting the most out for your team.
I have found that what small businesses do better than their big business counterparts at creating a great culture. Everyone is bought into the culture and everyone understands how their role contributes to the goals of the business. I suppose thats because they are small enough to provide everyone with that level of focus required. They also have this “at home” feel to them lmost all the time.
It was Peter Drucker who said culture eats strategy for breakfast and if strategy is for breakfast then your structure is for lunch. This is not just a stereotype or taboo, it is the truth. Business is about people, we do not grow businesses on our own, we do it through people. Similarly, people trust people whom they feel believe what they believe. This is an important consideration for small business owners. It is one that needs to be inculcated into your business at all levels.