16. Team Culture

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/16. Team Culture

16. Team Culture


Culture is an increasingly important part of how we interact with one another in a work environment and having the right culture can be a big difference maker for you and the organization.

We’ve be able to see that our internal culture has literally saved our asses several times when doing difficult projects and trying to survive the busiest of times.

And while this is very much led by the CEO of an organization, there’s a significant role that operations can have in helping to foster and grow the culture that is present inside your own company. You can help to build mechanisms that will enable the culture to grow and be supported, guide your team members to embrace the culture, and help to hire new team members that fit in with the rest of the team.

So how do you go about this?

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This is the smooth operator Podcast. I'm Adam Liette, director of operations for a seven figure online business and eight year veteran of Army Special Operations. On this show begin with the tactical, nitty gritty of what it really takes to run a thriving online business. Because at the end of the day, operators, lead the way.

Hello, welcome back to another episode of smooth operator. I'm Adam Liette, your host, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to join us for just a couple minutes on the podcast. One thing I really want to dive into and it's become very clear, to me is the idea of a company culture. This culture is so increasingly important, it's an important part of how we interact with one another in a work environment. And ultimately, having the right culture can be a dip big difference maker for you and the organization. So we've been able to see that our own internal culture has literally saved our asses several times when we're doing very difficult projects or when we're trying to survive and the busiest of times. Ultimately, like the culture of the team is led by the CEO and you as the operator, you need to help provide structures where that culture can best really just come to the top, and you need to help nurture that culture through the structures that you help build. So let the CEO li the cultural direction you help build the structure has to do it.

That's where operations has a significant role in helping to foster and grow the culture that's present inside the company. You have to build those mechanisms to enable the culture grow and be supported, to guide your team members to embrace the culture and help to hire neat new team members that fit in with the rest of the team. So there's a couple things to go about this. There's the several things I employ on a regular basis. The first is that I'm quite clear about sharing my own vulnerabilities. There are certain vulnerabilities I don't share with the entire team, but I do share them with my CEO and our one to ones. But I do share vulnerabilities with the team, I let them know I'm not. I'm not the end all be all I am a human just like the rest of them. And there are things that cause give me pause that make me uncomfortable. I'm really, really open with my team, they know when I'm stressed, when I'm worried about something when the weight of the world is on my shoulders, when something is happening in my personal life that can affect my work performance, I'm quite open about that. And because I'm willing to be open and show even that slightest bit of vulnerability, this opens the door to them, it encourages them. And it's okay to have pain and suffering and things that happen in life. Because we're all living life, right?

Our team is not just clocking in and showing up to work, they have their other live their, their two thirds of their day, where they're living, and things are gonna happen in there. It's a balancing act for sure. So you can't be all vulnerable all the time. But know the right moments when to express vulnerability. I find it often as when I see a team member that is struggling and maybe not expressing anything to me, I'll open the door to them, letting them know something that makes me uncomfortable. And that in turn invites them to do so. Because there are times like your there are times where you need to be an absolute rock for your team. I'll say that front and center. Like there are just times where you need to be unmovable. And just without like without any emotion, where you're just mission focused, and your team sees that they know. My team knows when atoms and atoms mode. They know when I'm in when I'm in the zone, and they know to stay out of my way because I'm gonna get I'm gonna get shit done. But when you pick your open lanes and really open up when you do, what you'll find is that they reciprocate, they don't, they no longer have the fear about coming to you in confidence when something's bugging them. That's really, really critical when someone comes to you with that. So that also fits in nicely with the the types of communication structures that you're building into your company and the different touchpoints that you have to encourage that open communication.

I feel like this is a running running theme over the last several episodes must be something that's going on in my business right now. And it is open communication is always something and we're going through a big transition right now. So it's just like top of mind for me right now. So with that, do you give them private time with you to discuss things from their perspective? Do you give them that one to one time? Do you have a release valve for that where that can be created, provide suggestions, or just in general vent about something in their daily work or even personal life like sometimes people just need that. So we have a variety of different meetings on our team. We have our full team meeting where everyone's required to participate and be in attendance and that's really that's business business the whole time. I'm also have our internal training meetings, departmental meetings. Some of these, I'm no longer present. And I also have Quick Sync calls with team members, I have seen calls on a near daily basis with several of my team members. And it's a good thing to have that quick link up on Zoom. I also encourage the team to use the company Zoom account to jump on with one another whenever they're collaborating with each other.

Don't try to rely on text all the time or slack or Asana, jump on a call with your team members, you don't need to ask me permission. Several team members have done that, like, Hey, can I have a meeting with so and so I'm like, Well, what are you asking me for your project is your baby go for it. So all these little things, they add up and they help to really grow that idea of a culture of a team that is open and communicative with one another. Another thing is goals. Like I've really noticed, my team works the best when we have a united big project that we're working to work towards. And we're all working on it together and everyone has their own little piece of it. big, hairy, audacious goals are ridiculously effective for getting teammate team members working together and helping to foment that culture, that culture of excellence, excellence, it's really a way of speeding up the process of building up teamwork and collaboration. From your role as the operator you need help build that structure. And, and, and all the support mechanisms that they need to be really successful in that. So if the assets are in various places, once in this Google Drive on that Google Drive, like give them a place to put it.

And just you'd be amazed at how simple and stupid creating a Google folder and saying, Hey, guys, put your docs in this folder. Like you want to believe like that took 35 seconds, maybe total, to create. But that simple little act, it pays off in dividends when you're doing project management, just providing them a place to do that. But through these big projects, big goals, man, your team is going to be in a position to grow and enhance the culture of that company. Another is to provide meeting. So it's not, man, it's just not enough to provide a paycheck these days. This generation, especially the young generation, like a credit to them, like they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, I get that entirely I served in the Army, for gosh sakes talk about doing something bigger than yourself. So like people really latch on to that people are inspired and work, they work harder, and work better when they know their life has meaning when they know what the work that they're doing, even when it's not fun work. And when but they know, it makes a difference. It makes a difference in someone's life. When when people know that it makes them work better, it makes them work from a different position from a place of joy from a place of service. So there I mean, there's so many different results you can share with your team. I mean, there are financial results. There's like mission oriented results.

There's also customer results, what we found to be the most effective on our team, we have this really unique relationship with our customers, our students, because we are an online education company. And we see the most amazing things happen with our students. So the students is really where we get a big proportion of our cultural building stuff. Where I will share wins, not just me, it's actually encouraged on a collaborative nature on the team, we have a Slack channel that's literally labeled wins. And on that channel, when we see wins on a call or an email or on our discussion boards inside the courses. The team members are encouraged and in some ways mandated. But that's a whole nother subject. It started out as mandate. And now it's kind of rose to the top as they just do it on their own. They're encouraged to share those wins within the winds column. And I make a deliberate attempt every single day to get in the winds calm and see what wins our team members are having. And you'll see that the winds are the most common and most emoji topics and all of our Slack channels and people do pay attention to those. If I have a great testimonial interview, I will share the whole video with the team but you got to watch this five minute video guys. That simple five minutes, man what a way that goes. It really goes a long way into to helping your team I see that bigger meaning behind things. And the work that they're doing is actually having a really, really huge impact. The final thing is really just what does your company stand for? Like,

what are you really doing this for? Do you have core values to your company? You know, companies do have values and if you don't define those values, they're gonna define themselves. So it's not so much your role as the operator to define those values, but more than anything you need to leverage Do your CEO to define what the company really, really stands for and then communicate that clearly to your team members and revisit those those values from time to time, those core tenants of what your company is made of and, and you can take, you know, business MBA one on one, and see like some of the mission statements or something, I can't say a mission statements. But mission statements do serve a purpose. But really, when you break down a mission statement, you get into some of the things that your company actually stands for. There's some really, there's some really good power to that and take the time to really develop your core tenants your core principles on what you stand for. If you hiring correctly.

And you're bringing the right people into your team that latch on to those core tenets, man, everything just takes care of itself. And so hiring is incredibly important. And we'll get into that in future episodes, I'm just coming off a hiring batch right now where I'm really digesting some lessons learned. But I look forward to sharing that in the near future. But when you have those core tenets built out ahead of time, you know, the people you're looking for, you can see them they pop out of, I mean, their resumes just pop, like you can see, oh, this person's one of our people, I can tell just by reading what they wrote about this subject or that subject. And just those core values go a long way, they go a really long way to establishing what your company stands for, and what you're going to be going forward. So company culture, man, it means everything it really does, it's going to impact how your team members show up, the attitude they have when they show up the fact that this is more than a job. This is a mission, if you are a mission oriented company, which all of us are in some way, one way or another. If you are not mission oriented, you need to find yourself a mission and get yourself on it. Because people react to mission they react to meaning. And that's how you're going to get the best possible performance from your team members.

That's how you're gonna get team members that come on to the team and never leave. And that's bringing it teams that will go out of their way to support one another, to help you to help the company succeed, and do whatever it takes to make sure that we keep moving towards our objectives. Alright, so a whole lot to unpack in there. I I'm very blessed I've come I've been into like, incredibly two, mission very heavily mission oriented organizations in my life, the company I'm with now and the United States military, I mean, that's probably one of the biggest mission oriented companies, or companies, organizations in the world. And you know, it's no small thing. You know, I, when people ask about why I served, or I do, my job I do now, it's always mission focused, it really is, this is so much more important than, than we give a credit to. And it just really enhances what we're trying to do inside our teams and the culture we're trying to create. So take the time, think this through, make it your own, own it. And you're going to see results in your own team, and the feedback and the cooperation that you get from your team members, especially when times get rough. All right, I hope you have a great rest of your day to hit me up at Adam liette.com I'd love to hear from some of the listeners, please send an email to Adam at Adam liette.com. I'd love to hear things that you'd like to hear more about topics you'd like for me to unpack areas that you're having trouble in your own business. And we can flush this out on the episode. And anyway, until next time, I'm Adam Liette. And we'll see you soon.

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