How to Build a Success Culture in your Business

4 Tips from Gabriella Horak a thought leader in Success Culture for organisations large and small. 

Being a CEO is a challenging job that requires multiple hat wearing and general knowledge on all aspects of the company just to keep it running. But what about practical, day to day strategies for its success?

Big picture organisational success usually starts with an exec team in a boardroom nutting it out over whiteboards. And that’s a good place to start but if you’re looking for true success it is down on the shop floor, with your employees and clients, where you’ll find the answers.

As Brian Tracy famously said “All business is people business. The people you attract on the road to wealth will determine your success as much as, or more than any other factor… People are everything!” And I would like to add that a healthy company culture is also ‘everything’.

So how do we communicate from the whiteboards to the front line? The good news is that it’s the small actions that can transform an aspirational business culture into a healthy one. An example of how to make a start is work I did with a leading Australian manufacturer of construction materials. The General Manager realised organisational silos had formed and there was a disconnection with the company’s ‘old school’ core values and it’s teams. I came in to help. The process for creating a culture of success went like this:

  • Start with Why
  • Understand Values
  • Use Team Intelligence™
  • Inspire Momentum

Tip 1: Start with Why

There are a handful of books I think are outstanding for inspiring change for personal and organisational success, and Start With Why by Simon Sinek is one of them. Starting with asking Why is a great way to bring everyone around quickly to a similar understanding.

Sinek naturally explains the importance of finding your Why better than anyone else. “Everyone has a Why. Why do you get up in the morning? Why does your organisation exist? Your Why is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do. When you think, act and communicate starting with Why, you can inspire others”.

What’s one thing you can do to find your company’s Why?

Ask questions! Ask ‘why did I/we start this business?’ ‘Why do our employees work with us?’ ‘Why do you work with us?’ ‘Why do our customers choose us?’

Tip 2: Understand Values

Like understanding the ‘Why’, setting guiding principles, as in core values for your organisation is one of the first steps to creating a Success Culture.

Core values of an organisation should be word descriptors that really mean something to the people of the company, to be held in high regard, and most importantly, define your point of difference. Netflix is a fantastic example of what real company core values look like and what Success Culture looks like:

How do you effectively review your company core values?

A good place to start is by defining your personal values – What really matters to you? What do you spend most of your time on? What motivates you? What do you surround yourself with?  Then go back to the Why. When you understand your values, go connect with the people in your organisation, from your team to your suppliers and customers, and ask questions. Dig deep to find out what really matters.

Tip 3: Use Team Intelligence™

It’s safe to say most businesses employ smart people or at least the best possible suited to a role in order to work to achieve a shared team vision. Collectively, this is Team Intelligence™ and when activated, it can give you access to completely unique points of view to achieving success.

Team Intelligence™ is all about teams working together intelligently to improve performance, communication, and overall satisfaction. It’s where teams build collaborative relationships, communicate openly, and identify strategies for moving forward as a cohesive unit to full potential.

Strengthening it is all in the magic of communication which is not rocket science! But does need to be honest, authentic and allow for safe conflict.

What’s something You can do to Strengthen Team Intelligence™?

Communicate person to person not position to position. Take the time to learn who your team members are, what drives them and what they are doing for the organisation. Ask questions with genuine interest about their role and their lives.

You don’t need to make dramatic changes to your communication just take any moment you have, to try something different, something better. The smallest change, like a ‘hello’ or a ‘thank you’ can make a huge difference to a relationship, a silo or workplace culture.

Tip 4: Inspire Momentum

Success doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that takes time. Understanding time and using it to your favour to build upon what has already been achieved will give you the edge in whatever you choose. Making even the smallest step matters. In the book The Slight Edge, it is described as the ‘secret of time’, which is not only about how things take time to cultivate but also how time is actually on our side. It’s about how we can achieve great things if we do something consistently toward that goal.

For a wannabe rockstar it might be playing every day without fail for 10 minutes, for a CEO wanting to change the company culture, it might take the small daily action of visiting a department to start breaking down silos.

 And therein lies the secret: doing it every day, consistently even when that road to success is paved with the boring little things that are easy to do, and just as easy not to do.

As Jeff Olson (author of The Slight Edge) says, “Any time you see what looks like a breakthrough, it is always the end result of a long series of little things, done consistently over time.”


Gabriella Horak

Gabriella is the Founder and CEO of What’s Your Edge?, creator of the trademark corporate program, TeamQ™, (Team Intelligence™), The Builder’s Edge™ and a highly sought after Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, and Mentor.


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