7 Elements of Company Culture That Ensure Your Business Keeps Improving

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Many startups and entrepreneurs I advise still default to growing their business via the traditional top-down, order-taking culture. I’m convinced you can’t stay competitive that way with today’s customers and employees. It’s time to insist that the people closest to the customer and the markets learn and make the decisions.

Here are seven key elements of company culture you can use to improve your employees’ experience and overall product.

1. Accept that you don’t know all the answers. 

Anything you or your team knows about the market today may change tomorrow. Don’t demand or assume immediate and certain answers. Foster a culture of constant dialog with customers, experimentation and multiple pivots required to stay competitive and responsive.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

2. Give the team permission to fail.

Experiments are how we learn, but experiments, by nature, fail frequently. If failure is stigmatized, teams will take fewer risks and your business will fall behind. Practice blameless post-mortems to honestly examine what went well and what should be discontinued.

3. Foster self-direction.

If your mission is clear, and the organization is aligned around it, self-direction takes root and delivers superior solutions. Team members will want to take personal responsibility for quality, creativity, collaboration and learning. You just provide the environment and support for success.

Related: Habits of the World’s Wealthiest People (Infographic)

4. Promote honesty.

Never shoot the messenger — even if you don’t like what they have to say — and don’t forget to listen carefully to the total message before responding. Ask questions without undue emotion, and always focus on the positive or possible solutions. No one learns from a…

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