Culture of Community

Many years ago, I didn’t have the best culture in the first small business I started. When I arrived at the office, the only thing on my mind was what hadn’t been done yet and what needed to get done. Myself and my small team valued our clients at the highest level, and we provided our clients with the most outstanding service experience ever and outshined our competition by a mile.

When I first started the company, my team and I worked unbelievable hours, from early in the morning until late at night, and we had a strong community. But as the business grew, I brought on partners and we began hiring more people. We grew very fast, and in the midst of that growth, I started my training company, which meant I was traveling constantly doing seminars and coaching clients. I left a leadership vacuum behind. We didn’t have the support, encouragement, and accountability in place. We no longer had community. We had a collection of people.

We began working on systems, and we had a strong mission, but our team was engaged only to the point necessary to get the job done, and some of our team members were disengaged. A review of my journal during that time read:

My absence over the past two years has created a great division in the ranks. It seems everyone complains about everyone else . . . I must schedule a staff meeting to begin mentoring community.

Over time, we became a community again. What changed? For starters, leadership changed. I built the leadership team by supporting them, encouraging them, and helping them to be accountable to the vision they had of themselves. They did the same for me. We established a vision for who we wanted to become and our core values. Over time, as I learned more about community, our whole culture changed to one that could be described as supportive, encouraging, and accountable. Today it is a loving atmosphere, and highly effective and profitable as well. Without overworking the staff, I might add.