I had the pleasure of attending the Inc 5000 conference. There was a hot topic that every speaker talked on, and the buzz words were culture and people. If the goal is to grow rapidly and sustain that growth, succeeding has much to do with the environment and the people.
Overall, culture matters: You either design it or create it by accident. Most speakers discussed the importance of spending time on culture, hiring for core values, and taking the time to train based on how the company should operate. Here are my top 5 takeaways from the conference for those who missed it and for those who want a refresher.
Hire Slowly. Fire Quickly. Most speakers had the same interview process, one that takes time and asks questions based strictly on core competencies, potential, and how aligned they are with the company culture. The Top Characteristics Leaders look for in hiring talent—Marcus Lemonis, entrepreneur and reality tv star on The Profit, says— his number one characteristic is humility. He also looks for people with the willingness and openness to learn, ones who are transparent, easy to adapt, can motivate and inspire, problem solve, and demonstrate a hunger to learn.
Accountability is key! Everyone needs to know what the goals are and make sure they are aligned with them. Then we need to be willing to hold ourselves accountable for our parts in the outcome. After all, things only get fixed when you focus on them.
Training is essential. On-boarding an employee is a huge part of the employee becoming productive, culture-oriented, and starting off right. Spend time up front making sure your new hires understand the fundamentals of your company, what your culture is, why it is important, and what your expectations are. Don’t just assume new hires know even if they were doing it in their past company. Your company is different. One big thing here is to let them ask questions, make comparisons to their previous positions (which can help them get oriented) and ask them questions too.
Double down on your people and your profit will skyrocket. People will give more, and become their full selves when they’re guided by a higher purpose. When you demonstrate that your employees are truly important, and they feel emotionally and mentally integral to the company’s success, you’ve activated a kind of buy-in that turns your employees into your partners.
Don’t just write your cultivating and motivating mottos on the walls. Live them day to day. Even if you’re in a swamped industry, with tons of competition, your clients (whoever they may be) still have choices about culture. Your employees, current and potential, care who they work for and why as much (or almost) as they typical returns like feeling fulfillment and getting paid.
When your culture is part of your daily evaluations, and you take good care of your people, you’re on the right track to grow quickly, with stability, and be able to sustain growth.