The one thing I believe in most at Durable is in the first line of our brand manifesto, “We are supportive of our clients and each other so that everyone can succeed—it starts with honest and open collaboration.”
I arrived at this view because of an experience I had some time ago. I was a principal at a company that needed to lay off a significant portion of the staff. Rather than following the conventional practice of escorting out the affected people, banker boxes in hand, we decided to do the opposite. We told people they could come in and use the office while they were looking for new jobs, maybe pick up any freelance work if we had it, and generally come to us for advice and guidance.
I didn’t think anyone would take us up on our offer. But much to my surprise, most of the people we let go came back to the office and stayed with us for some weeks.
That experience meant a lot to me. Up until then, I didn’t really understand how much people value a supportive environment. Over the years, I’ve identified four key factors that create this kind of culture.
Collaboration is king
Honest and open collaboration has many benefits—better products, better understanding and above all, better results. When managers regularly collaborate with staff mentoring happens automatically. And when consultants effectively collaborate with clients, the results can be amazing.
Everyone defines success differently. The trick is to ensure that the views of staff members and clients coalesce into a shared definition of success that the entire team can work toward.
Create a learning organization
Employees in the early stages of their careers need to learn by working side-by-side with practice leaders. Senior staff members need to teach and mentor. It all comes down to embracing knowledge sharing—not only internally, but with our clients as well.
Bake it into the brand
Often a company’s brand promise is oriented around the customer’s perspective. To be effective, however, it must also include elements of what the brand means internally.
Lead by example
It’s human nature to imitate our leaders. That’s why company leaders must be very aware of their behaviors and the ethics they embrace. Those behaviors and ethics become company culture. And at some point company culture takes on a life of its own. Treat others the ways you want to be treated AND how you want your staff to treat others.