Monthly Archives: September 2013

Culture – Fad or Real?

‘Culture’ is again a hot topic in the business world. Studies show it has significant effects on success and growth. Yet few smaller organizations focus on creating an effective culture.

Whether you consciously planned it or not, your organization has a culture. And when you try to do something new, you see the negative effects often. But the positive aspects of culture can help you succeed if you develop them.

When I do organizational assessments, a common result is a divergence between what executives say they have as a culture and what their practices actually are. Too often, basic practices and policies have simply been borrowed from other organizations but are wrong for this organization’s needs and goals.

Perhaps you never consciously tried to create a culture. Or the culture you originally developed is not what you now need. Or worse, the culture you thought you had created is not what you actually have. Aligning your culture, your policies, and your actual practices is critical for success. As you look forward, take a look at your existing culture and practices.
* Are they what you want?
* Are they what you expected?
* How do you know if your answers are truly correct?

Will the existing culture support your strategic and business plans? If not, what are you going to do? How?

More from a pioneer on the importance of culture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Schein

By |September 30th, 2013|culture|0 Comments

No, No… Not Me, Not Networking

Research consistently shows that it is the entrepreneurs with the extensive network who are most likely to succeed. Yet many small business founders do little to grow and enhance – or even use – their network. How about you?

A real value of a good network is the connections it allows you to make to ideas, services and support you need to develop your business and succeed. You want people with technical and business expertise that complements yours. Add those with wide-ranging interests and specialists – both help you with the future. Plus friends for support and peers for inside info. Attending professional events, including those the Alexandria SBDC offers, is an easy way to meet new people who may be valuable in your network.

When you need to hire employees, your network can often provide referrals who match your needs far better than an ad or job posting. The trick here is to be specific about what you need, what results you expect from the new hire, and what your company offers and expects. Clearly communicate all that to your network and ask for help. The candidates you receive this way are generally better qualified in terms of the job and a better match in terms of your culture.

The same process is useful when you need outside services, advisors, or referrals to competent attorneys, CPAs, consultants, etc.

Network Effectively

Start by carving out a bit of time daily over two weeks to look the people you know already. Decide how to connect or re-connect. Will you use LinkedIn, another online tool, the phone, or what? Improve your most relevant connections first. What do you want and what will you give in return? Don’t forget your community or personal contacts, they offer a lot more […]

By |September 4th, 2013|networking|0 Comments