Small Business 3 Culture Questions

Shelley SmithBlog, Workplace Culture

3 Culture Questions

What is it? Why does it matter? How do you evolve it?

Culture, Culture, Culture – Marsha, Marsha, Marsha… – that sometimes nagging word that can be so seemingly unachievable or elusive at times.

  • What is it?
  • Why does it matter?
  • How can you evolve it?
  • And more so…who has time?

I have heard from many small business owners, they care… but who has the time to worry about the company’s culture when they are wearing multiple hats as it is; not to mention their employees are shifting gears on a moment’s notice too. Or your day is full of covering shifts or the phones due to call offs or open positions.

I will admit, it is difficult for me to write a summary blog on such an important topic, however, the intent of this blog is to help you think through the ‘why’ to further determine your daily activities and those that make the biggest impact on your profit. That my fellow owners and executives is the goal and the secret is really, really, really simple. BUT, do you want to hear it and believe it?

Secret: Your workforce, your employee from administrative to 2nd in charge and everyone in between. Even if that is an employee of one or 200+.

What is culture?

Your company culture is defined by the group of people working within and or associated directly your organization. Their individual values, behaviors, and skills come together in one puzzle; one picture. One environment that is either cohesively aligned to your company mission, vision, and values or going in multiple directions of dysfunctionality.

Why does it matter?

Culture is made of your people and your people matter. How do you view your workforce; as labor and a line item expense or as an investment? When we invest our intentions are to create additional growth and wealth. How we pay attention to our investments can make the difference between a sucking sound coming from the bank or a Cha-Ching sound. Which do you prefer? Your employees, your culture have a direct impact on your economic performance. The right culture aligned with your staff and your goals can and will improve your dollars. Overall productivity rests in the capacity of you people and their overall engagement and satisfaction.

How do you evolve your company culture?

If change is needed, please understand it doesn’t change overnight. It takes work to massage your investments and bring consistent clarity, boundaries, and direction to your desired and envisioned culture. Every culture is different. There isn’t a magic wand you can wave or just copy what others are doing.

Here are some steps to discover first where you are and where to start.

  1. Quick description exercise: hand out blank 3×5 index cards to each of your team members. Ask them to write down the 3 to 7 bullet points that describe the companies culture. Don’t let them over think it, just write them down. Ask them to include the good, bad and the indifferent – you want to know their perceptions. From there you collect them and see where they are aligned, different and where they are aligned and different from how you envisioned your company culture to be described. This quick exercise is always revealing. Note this is a 5-minute exercise with your team. You can share in another 5 minutes or type up the words in a word cloud for example to share.
  2. Quick personal value exercise: go to the internet and print the 2 pages found here.  This exercise takes about 15 minutes and is done individually. Once completed you can again share the final results within the group.
  3. The key for both of these exercises is to see where the fits and gaps are to your overall desired culture and value alignment. Your team of 1 or 200+ also see where the fits and gaps are amongst those they work with more frequently and that of your organization.
  4. Now it’s time for strategies around the needed pivots in your culture.
    1. Ask yourself where are you now based on exercise 1 and 2?
    2. Where do you want/need to go?
    3. How far are we aligned or misaligned to the company mission, vision, values?
    4. What does it mean?
    5. How did we get there?
    6. What is the root of this misalignment?
      • Clear expectations?
      • Hiring?
      • Onboarding?
      • Development?
      • Communication?
      • And the list goes on

I hope this brings some ah-ha moments to you or stats you thinking in an investment way. You see the possibilities are endless with investments vs. costs. For more information or a full Culture Inquiry, please reach out directly or visit my website. Remember #CultureMatters


My name is Shelley Smith, your culture curator. A company’s culture can make or break the long-term success and overall profitability. Your employees must be aligned with your mission, vision, and values. Their behavioral needs must be congruent with the needs of your culture and motivated to those needs daily. If you would like to know more about this process of inquiry please contact me directly at or visit me on my websites to learn more and Calling all Culture Curators to join the conversation, for more information about membership, join-me.