by Jason Richmond, CEO and Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.
You’ve probably heard the Chinese saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?” and maybe Martin Luther King Jr.’s spin on it: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” The message hits home when we consider how to build a healthy company culture. That staircase to success? It might look intimidating, but all you need to do is start with one small step. Let’s dive into how this mindset can transform our approach to company culture, purpose, mission, and values.
Taking That First Step
Think of company culture as the vibe of our workplace. It’s all about the values, beliefs, and everyday practices that make up our work life. And guess what? Changing this culture doesn’t mean flipping everything upside down overnight. It’s more about those little, consistent actions that gradually lead to big changes. These small steps could be anything from how we greet each other in the morning, to the way we handle feedback, to celebrating small wins. Each of these actions, while seemingly minor, add up to create a powerful ripple effect that can reshape and invigorate our company culture, leading to a more positive, productive, and engaging workplace. So, let’s start with one small step, one simple change that can set us on the path to a vibrant and dynamic workplace culture.
Purpose: It’s All About Direction, Not Distance
Our company’s purpose is the ‘why’—the reason we jump out of bed and head to work every day. It’s the driving force behind every project, meeting, and decision we make. Great companies have a clearly defined purpose—a reason for being—that everyone understands and considers important. This sense of purpose transcends daily tasks and connects us to something bigger. It’s the spark that ignites passion and innovation in our work.
If asked, every employee could tell you the role they play in achieving that purpose, demonstrating a shared commitment and unity in our collective vision. This alignment ensures that, regardless of our individual roles, we are all moving in the same direction, contributing to a larger story that defines and distinguishes our company.
Mission: Setting Our Compass and Finding Our True North
Our mission is the statement of our purpose. And it’s much more than just a sentence on a website or a poster on the wall. It’s like our North Star, consistently guiding us in the right direction, especially when the path isn’t crystal clear. Imagine you’re on a journey through unfamiliar territory. You might not know every twist and turn on the route, but as long as you keep that North Star in sight, you can feel confident you’re heading the right way. That’s what our mission does for us.
It’s not about mapping out every detail of the journey ahead. Real life, just like business, is full of unexpected detours and reroutes. What’s crucial is that every step we take, no matter how small, is aligned with that guiding star. This means making decisions, launching initiatives, and even daily tasks all need to resonate with our core mission.
Values: Our Step-by-Step Guide
Our values are like signposts along the way. They guide how we act and how we make decisions, even when we’re not 100% sure what lies ahead. These values don’t need the entire journey laid out; they just need to be solid and followed with each step we take.
When we align our values with our mission, something amazing happens. We start to build momentum, like a snowball rolling down a hill, gathering more snow and speed. This momentum is infectious; it energizes everyone in the team and creates a sense of purpose and direction. It’s about moving forward, even if it’s inch by inch, because every bit of progress counts.
Our mission and values are not just a guide; they help us to check if we’re on track. Each time we’re faced with a decision, big or small, we can ask ourselves: “Does this align with our mission and values?” This simple question can clear up confusion and keep us focused on what truly matters.
In essence, setting our mission as our compass is about embracing a mindset of purposeful progress. It’s about being okay with not seeing the entire path, yet trusting that each step in the right direction is a step towards achieving something great. Our mission gives us the confidence to take those steps, to innovate, to take risks, and to push boundaries, all while staying true to what we believe in.
Embracing the Journey
The journey to improve our workplace culture is definitely more of a marathon than a quick sprint. It’s about continuously learning, adapting, and evolving. Our first step could be something small, like kicking off a new project, tweaking the way we communicate, or changing a policy to better reflect our cultural goals. The key is to just get moving.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s words are a powerful reminder about the importance of getting started. When it comes to our company’s culture, purpose, mission, and values, we have to take that first step. Let’s keep our eye on the North Star, our mission. It’s our beacon in the ever-changing world of business, ensuring that every move we make is a step to where we truly want to be.