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  • Writer's pictureNeal McIntyre

5 Ways Your Business Can Feel As Good As It Looks



Last week I posed the question “Do you look as good as you feel or do you feel as good as you look”. While my father regularly presented this question to me years ago when I was a child and his question centered more on me from a personal perspective. As I’ve grown, I’ve also realized that this question can be aptly posed to organizations. Many companies go to great lengths to ensure that their business has a certain look that is appealing to their target audience in the hopes of driving business. Their look is intended to reflect specific qualities that represent their business as part of the branding process. 


Granted, aesthetics often do get potential customers to come through our doors but it is more frequently our customer service, customer experience,  and the personalities of our employees, all qualities that represent our company culture, that inspire people to return for future business. Unfortunately, company culture regularly gets overlooked and overshadowed by the visual appeal of the company as most business leaders believe their culture is fine. Compounding the mindset, it is easier to correct the look of a business while changing the culture is a slow process that requires time, patience, and determined change by all - including the senior leadership of the company.


So How Do You Improve?


I’m a firm believer that the very first step in remedying a situation is to recognize and admit that you have a problem and that the problem is one that your company can not fix on its own. Why can’t you fix it on your own? Well, if you could, you’d already have corrected the problem. We all have a tendency to want to save a few dollars and do things on our own. Often times this leads to us creating a larger mess that costs tremendously more to fix. Our pursuit of fixing the problem on our own is largely based on our ego. Newsflash: our ego isn’t going to enable us to remain in business or pay the bills! So things need to change and this organizational change will often require outside help.



5 Ways To Help Your Business Feel Good


Fortunately, there are some things that business leaders can do to help initiate cultural change within their businesses. While it is still strongly recommended that you seek external help for long-lasting cultural change, here are five simple ways you can boost the morale, productivity, and efficiency of your organizational culture:


Cultivate a purpose-driven culture.


Employees are more engaged, united, productive, and positive if they feel as though they are contributing to something bigger and larger than themselves. This should not be a focus on profit but a focus on things like making a positive social impact, environmental sustainability, positive customer experience, etc.


Invest in employee growth.


How many business leaders know the goals and aspirations of each of their employees? Too many times employees feel as though they are viewed as a number or just a cog in the wheel of business with their supervisors caring nothing for them as a person. Spend time learning about your employees. What are their goals and dreams? What about their family? What is their passion? As a leader, your primary job should be to develop your employees - not into what you want them to be but into what they desire to be. The rewards of this are exponential!


Prioritize open communication.


A lack of communication or unclear communication is fertile ground for rumors and speculation - both of which have never caused positive outcomes. Granted, while there may be some things that can’t be let out of the bag just yet, most business topics and dealings can and should be communicated to the workforce. Too often those in leadership positions withhold information from their employees for trivial reasons. If you expect your people to all work together towards a common purpose and goal, then demonstrate this by having open communication with all employees!


Celebrate achievements (big and small).


We all do a great job of encouraging toddlers through positive reinforcement but somewhere along the growth cycle, we come to believe that adults do not need praise or celebration. The business world is overflowing with leaders who are largely absent until a bad situation happens - then you see the seagull style of management unfold. If you’re not familiar with that term, it’s when a manager shows up, yells or scolds his/her subordinates, and then leaves - all symbolic of a seagull that flies in, craps on everything, and then leaves. True inspirational leaders celebrate achievements and will praise all employees for a job well done. This is a simple act but it has a tremendous impact on the company culture.


Promote work-life balance.


I can’t count how many times over the past two decades where I’ve heard business leaders say “We’re going to do more with less” or “Sometimes you’ve just got to give extra to big brother and be loyal”. Both phrases emphasized that an employee was expected to work harder, be loyal, and be willing to work overtime (paid or unpaid) for the job. This is not the type of leader that anyone wants to work for or will be willing to go the extra mile for! True leaders realize that their employees have one life that encompasses their work and their personal lives - you can’t truly separate one from the other. If something is wrong at work, it’s going to affect the employee’s personal life, and vice versa. A true motivational leader will prioritize making sure their employees have a proper balance between their work and personal lives.


Conclusion


Every business culture has something that it can improve on. Some businesses need minor cultural adjustments while others need major changes. As leaders, it’s up to us to initiate this change and to live the change that we desire. As a leader, you can’t act or believe one way and expect your organization to display traits that are the exact opposite of those that you harbor - an organization is always a reflection of its leadership! The five tactics above will improve your work culture in many ways - such as ensuring unity, reducing conflict/toxicity, improving customer service, etc. - but you can only change so much by yourself. If you honestly want your business to accelerate its performance, you have no choice - your organization must feel as good as it looks and it must look as good as it feels!


If you’re looking to significantly improve and transform your business culture into one that will drive unprecedented growth, I’d love to have a complimentary and confidential meeting with you. We can discuss your goals and the challenges that you are faced with. Even if you decide that I can’t help your business, there’s no obligation or cost - so you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain!


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