This is the second in a series of blogs on Growing Great Teams.  If you missed the first one you can find it here.


Design a culture that attracts and nurtures the right people.

There are 6 key steps to building and retaining a great team.


1.     THE WHY. 

It starts with the WHY – in the words of Simon Sinek – “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

This means knowing and being able to articulate the purpose beyond the purpose of the business – why does it exist and what does it enable?

For example, a work place health and safety business exists to save lives – they believe that everyone should know how to save a life should they ever be in the position to need to do so.  They are passionate about educating people in first aid to enable them to save lives.  They don’t make sales – they save lives – very powerful.

People who believe this will be attracted to this organisation.


2.     THE VISION. 

What will the business look like in the future – say in 6 to 9 years’ time and in terms of sales, profit, value, products, people, customers, locations, the owners’ role?  Having real clarity around the vision for the business means that it can be shared with the team in a passionate and articulate way.

In the context of the example of the work place health and safety business, not only does the team believe in the WHY, but they are excited about the future of the business and want to be part of enabling even more lives to be saved.


3.     THE VALUES. 

Given the WHY and your Vision – what are the non-negotiable values that will drive the desired behaviour in the organisation?  The value as a single word should be accompanied with “and what that means is” and further extended with “and this is how it plays out in our organisation.”  This helps reinforce the meaning of the value as it applies to this particular culture, to this team, and their interaction with others.

People whose personal values align with the corporate values will feel comfortable and connected in this environment which is conducive to their growth and development.


4.     THE NEEDS. 

How will the business environment meet the human needs of the team?  How will it provide certainty, variety, a sense of connection, significance and growth, and how will it enable the team to make a contribution beyond themselves?

When human needs are met at a high level people are more likely to stay than to leave – they are more likely to excel than to stagnate.

The WHY, Vision, Values and the Needs come together to create the culture of the organisation – it is this environment of intangibles – the energy of the place – that feels right to the right people.


5.     THE SKILLS. 

What skill sets are needed now and into the future?  What skills will be bought and which will be taught?  This proactive (as opposed to ad hoc) process of recruitment requires that there is a business plan to support the VISION, a growth plan to enable the business plan and a people plan to support the planned growth.  A people plan developed 3 to 6 years ahead will highlight the skill sets needed to do the jobs now, and/or with training and development, the jobs of the future.

This approach means that the recruitment process attracts people who believe in the WHY, whose VALUES are aligned, who will fit the culture and who have the skill sets that will suit an organisation growing into its VISION.



There must then be an ongoing process of walking the talk.  If people are attracted to the organisation because of the WHY, VALUES, NEEDS, and culture, then any dilution of these or any loss of clarity around the vision and the opportunities it brings, either real or perceived, will be the precursor for potential attrition.  There can be no confusion – a confused team will not commit, they will limit the amount of skin they put in the game.  What is published and asserted must be validated by what is actually done.

Culture is caught not taught.  The culture that is loudest will prevail.  This means that there must be a continual and consistent promotion of the chosen culture and KPI’s that reward those who embrace it.  Behaviours that are off-culture must be addressed immediately and without exception.

The culture of an organisation that encompasses the WHY, VISION, VALUES and NEEDS must always be front of mind.  Install a culture champion(s) – someone whose charter it is to ensure that culture gets the focus it deserves, who has the ability to identify behaviour that is on and off culture and who is mindful of the changing needs of people in an ever-changing fast paced business environment.

If you need help creating an environment that will attract and retain great people, we can help you – our CULTURE COLLABORATIVE workshops are designed to do just that.


Part 3 of this blog series considers the distinction between a high performing team and a team of high performers – how do you promote a sense of team while at the same time valuing the individual.  Click Here to read Part 3 of this series.

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