Business Tips - Building and Sustaining Culture

August 18, 2022

Business Tip with Sinapis Entrepreneur Academy Trainer and business consultant, Victor Omollo

Some of the best actors and actresses are our children and their friends. I'm sure you've seen them congregate during playtime and organize an amazing cast ready to portray the most influential people in their lives – parents, teachers, and caregivers. One is daddy, another mommy, another nanny, another teacher, and maybe even a doctor. Then the movie begins, a replica of what happens in their lives. Having your children play with your (adult) pals can put you in a vulnerable position since you know anything you said at home in their presence and hoped would stay at home will come out either through their words or actions.

This imitating trait lives on into adulthood. Think about it. Why do you drive the way you do (especially in Nairobi, Kenya, where I live)? Why do you cook the way you do? Why do you react to certain situations the way you do? If you carefully investigate, you can trace your mannerisms to an influential person in your life or community norms. As they say, "Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery for adults, but for babies, it's their foremost tool for learning." 

And here is a powerful lesson for leaders. 

As a leader, whether this is good news or not depends on the quality of your leadership. For example, suppose you are frustrated by the behavior of your employees because you tell them one thing, but they always do something different. Could it be that they are simply doing what they see? 

What does this have to do with your leadership and the behavior of your employees? In his classic quote, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast," Peter Drucker summarizes it. 

Most leaders will give prime attention to strategic plans, which is prudent. However, a strategy needs the corresponding culture to support its implementation. What have you been doing to build the culture that can help the strategic processes that get you closer to your vision? 

People implement strategy, and people's behaviors determine the culture. The interesting thing about culture is that it shows how people behave, not what they have read in their employee manual.

For example, you take your team to a great team-building event, which leaves them charged up and excited – it was worth the investment. Then, three months post the event, you notice that the behavior reverts to pre-team building status. Alas! What happened? Culture happened. If the team-building event does not directly address culture, it becomes another event.

Here's the good news. Remember how our kids will do what they see us do more than what we tell them to do?
As leaders, we can influence how our teams behave because the ultimate driver of culture is you – the leader. 

For this reason, Sinapis empowers entrepreneurs with tools to assess and design cultures that will support the success of their enterprises. In the Entrepreneur Academy, we go through a 6-step journey to help you develop the right culture. But, for now, here's one thought that could guide your thinking.

John C Maxwell starts with the "Law of the Lid," in his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. This concept states that your enterprise (and any other area of your life) will only be as good as the quality of your leadership. You can impact your leadership and the people around you with deliberate and consistent effort. Remember, CONSISTENCY COMPOUNDS. 

Take time to evaluate:

  • What is the current culture in your business?
  • How does the current culture impact your business?
  • What do you need to do consistently to improve your leadership?

Choose to be intentional about your leadership today and reap the benefits as your team follows you.