By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey

7 Ways Entrepreneurship Can Be Incorporated into Your Company Culture
7 November 2017 | 10:44 am

Company culture is the foundation of relevancy for your business. A positive company culture fosters creativity, outside-the-box thinking, and imagination. Changing your company culture is not easy, but the benefits speak for themselves.

While building Barefoot Wine into a bestselling brand, we relied on seven steps to build a positive company culture:

  1. Remove Roadblocks: Structure can be limiting. If an employee’s great idea has to pass through more than one pair of hands, they can become discouraged and may even lose recognition for their work. At Barefoot, employees were able to present their ideas directly to management, avoiding unnecessary compliance processes.
  2. Acknowledge: When creative, thorough, and efficient work is recognized publicly, all of your employees are more likely to respect others as team players. On every employee’s work anniversary with Barefoot, we sent out a memo that outlined their accomplishments during their last year. Recognizing employees’ efforts sends a message that good work does not go unnoticed.
  3. Have Fun: Vendors, employees, and consumers alike all want to do business with fun people. Going along with the Barefoot brand, Michael was “Head Stomper” and CEO; Bonnie’s title was “Original Foot” since her foot was on the label. Doug McCorkle was our Controller and “The Cork”—because who else but our Controller would put a stop to it? A fun environment allows creativity to flourish.
  4. Make Mistakes Write: Don’t just make your mistakes right—make them write! Mistakes happen. Establish a culture that embraces this, as long as all of the blunders are identified. Allow any mistake to be an opportunity to put processes in place that will prevent it from happening again. Identify which documents need to be updated for the future, whether that’s a checklist, a new procedure, or a new policy. Establish a culture of permission—a culture that says, “Be creative and make mistakes as long as you hold yourself accountable.”
  5. Have a Two-Division Company: What set Barefoot apart was having two divisions, compared to a vertical structure with the CEO at the top and numerous departments on the bottom. We had Sales and Sales Support. That’s it! Product development, marketing, accounting, and the CEO were all part of the Sales Support division. If your company is all about the consumer experience, sales should be on top with everyone else supporting sales. Think of where your company would be without sales—it wouldn’t be!
  6. Pay for Performance: Paying your employees right will not only keep them there—it will keep them motivated. We established our pay structure with teamwork in mind. Since our employees’ bonuses and employer’s contribution to their 401k were partially reliant on performance, they were determined to excel, and to encourage their teammates to do the same.
  7. The Money Map: Set the precedent for your employees right when they start. We distributed an infographic that showed exactly how the money traveled from the consumer’s pockets into their In that moment, the sales process became transparent to the employee, and the stage was set for a positive sales culture.

Making changes to company culture starts at the top and radiates through the rest of the company. So, take a look at your management’s attitude toward everything from pay, to making mistakes, to having fun, and you will soon see where the changes are necessary.

 

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