Success can be as elusive in business as it is ubiquitous in every business conversation. What are the principles we can apply that will lead to individual and collective success?
Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder & Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization, New York Times bestselling author and hailed the “Father of Modern Networking” by both Forbes and CNN, highlights three guideposts to success through having a strong, well-defined culture.
If you can create a culture in an organization that is really healthy, you can have a marginal strategy and be successful. But if you have a great strategy and a great culture, you're going to be an industry. - Dr. Ivan Misner
Relationship building and emotional intelligence are key components to expanding your network. We must integrate these into our companies and organizational culture. Cascade it to the entire team so we can see actual results.
Culture is the secret sauce
Culture eats strategy for breakfast. - Dr. Ivan Misner
In business, we often dive deep into strategies as our go-to blueprint for success. But, we fail to recognize that strategies are implemented by people who make up the structure of your company. And what drives people to think, act and decide is a strong, well-defined culture.
You can have the best, most advanced industry-proven strategies and still nowhere unless you fix your weak or rotten culture.
We can build a great culture by first establishing processes in an organization that works. As you put in place your processes, you observe which are applicable and work for you, and which don’t. As you form your system, your processes now become your organizational traditions.
A culture of networking means having systems that revolve around relationship building. Oftentimes, you have to focus on people over profit without sacrificing the bottom line.
Clinging to your core values
Our processes become your systems, which become your tradition, which then becomes your core values that you live by and forms into your culture. - Dr. Ivan Misner
The core values that you live by and practice in your business actually become your culture. And when you're living the core values, you have created an amazing culture.
It's important to know that your core values are more than just a collection of motivational phrases. This is where your culture comes from. It's not just a group of words you put on a frame and hang on a wall. As Ivan notes, “It's a way of living one's life. It's a perspective to view and interact with the world. It's an attitude, not an expectation.
Making that culture “stick”
After establishing that culture of networking, the next challenge is to make sure that culture is kept. One way to make sure that happens is by defining your systems and processes that align with said culture. Anything that is important should have a definition - and this is no different.
To illustrate the value of well-defined core values, consider its relationship to a company’s vision and mission.
Your vision statement is where you want to go. Your mission statement is how you want to get there. The core values are the way you apply your business in the context of your mission. - Dr. Ivan Misner
After defining your culture, implementation will start from the top.
Primarily, the leaders of an organization have to be the culture champions. They not only embody it but promote and create excitement around carrying it out across the board.
Businesses can roll out educational campaigns to make sure the culture is ingrained into the DNA of the company. This can include employees taking tests to see how well they know it. See how much they understand the core values and do refresher sessions if necessary.
There are also simpler forms of culture reinforcement like during meetings or as part of the training curriculum.
Whichever way you do it, defining your core values early will provide huge benefits on the organizational front. This is because you now have guides and frameworks for personnel-related actions such as hiring, decorum and performance expectations.