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As a business leader, one of your most important tasks is to set the tone for your team. You need to create the right culture to empower your team to perform at their highest level. The right culture is what separates effective teams that get results from mediocre teams that struggle.

A simple way to understand a high-performance culture is that it’s a culture that works. Your team members have the resources and everything they need to get their job done and produce results. The right culture also contributes to a sense of satisfaction, helping you to retain good talent. 

Set Clear Goals and Benchmarks

To establish the right culture, a leader starts by setting clear goals and benchmarks. Each member of your team needs to know where they’re going and how they’re getting there. This is the most important upfront work as it’s related to everything the team does afterward. 

Convey Your Core Values

The basis for any business culture is its core values. These are the motivating factors that inspired you to start your business in the first place. 

Why does your organization exist? What change would you like to make in the world? This should be the foundation of your business culture and well understood by your team.

Define Behaviors and Norms

What makes a team “high performing” is their ability to get results. These results depend on set of behaviors and norms that allow the team to function as a cohesive unit.

These behaviors and norms differ from one organization or industry to another. It’s your role as leader to define these and clearly communicate them to your staff, establishing best practices that everyone will follow. Along with behaviors and norms, you may also have specific jargon or vocabulary that the entire team should learn and embrace.  

Identify Challenges

As teams go about working toward their common goals, they face obstacles and challenges. Cultivate a culture that encourages the identification of these hurdles and overcoming them together.  

Some challenges live only in the minds of your team members. It isn’t always tech issues or a lack of skills that hold some people back, but instead they face mindset issues. Uncover any negative beliefs and help team members reframe them. 

Foster Good Communication

No matter what type of business culture and goals you have, you need a foundation of good communication. This not only includes communication between leadership and employees, but also among team members. You have to act as a facilitator, making sure that key information is shared and each team member feels safe and encouraged when interacting with each other. 

Be proactive in fostering communication. Create opportunities for team members to communicate openly with each other. Actively seek feedback you can use. 

Reinforce Positive Behavior

It’s not enough to simply explain your culture and best practices. You need to model good behavior so your team members can understand exactly what it looks like in concrete terms. In addition, if you reward your team members, you will see improved performance in all areas of your business. 

Keep Educating Yourself About High Performing Business Cultures

If you’re just getting started at shaping your business culture, do some independent study about what makes high-performing teams click. Look for books and stories about business culture and how it’s used to get results. 

Once you have your team working together, monitor results to discover what’s working and what isn’t. Choose KPIs and track behaviors and actions that produce results so you can refine best practices for even better performance. 

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