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Creating a strong culture: Where to start

Creating a strong workplace culture is one of the most powerful and lasting things any organisation can focus on. Why? Because a strong culture leads to better performance, higher retention and a more aligned organisation. A strong workplace culture also helps create hours of time in your day as a leader or manager.

Ready to start building a strong culture? Here’s where to start.

To build a strong culture you need a short, sharp core purpose. A core purpose is the reason an organisation exists. It’s a brief statement that anyone can read and think “yep, got it. I know exactly what they’re up to”. The less words the better.

The power of a core purpose can be breathtaking. For example, the core purpose of Zappos (the most famous culture on the planet right now) is ‘delivering happiness’. They exist to deliver happiness to as many people as they possibly can. Simple. Similarly, the core purpose of Facebook is to ‘make the world more open and transparent’. Like it or not, with over 800 million users sharing photos, videos, ideas and updates, every day the world is more open and transparent thanks to Facebook.

At The Physio Co, we too have a simple core purpose. Our core purpose is ‘to help oldies stay mobile, safe & happy’. Those eight words have been amazingly powerful in aligning our team and growing our culture. Potential team members immediately know that physio for aged care residents is our thing. Just as importantly, our clients love that we are completely focussed on oldies, we’re not trying to be everything to everyone.

Now, just because a core purpose is short doesn’t make it easy to define! It took close to a year to draft, re-draft, ask for feedback, think some more, start again, get more feedback and finally cut our core purpose down from about fifteen words. In my experience, a core purpose is more succinct and powerful than either a vision or mission statement (because a lot of mission/vision statements are crap). Creating our core purpose is one of the most worthwhile things we’ve done to grow The Physio Co’s family culture.

So, once you’ve defined your short, sharp core purpose and communicated it to everyone, you’ll have the first of the building blocks needed to build a strong workplace culture. You’ll also have a tool to exponentially improve the alignment you have with your team – for example, if you have a difficult decision to make: refer to your core purpose. Need to make a hiring or firing decision? Refer to your core purpose. By continually referring to your core purpose you will automatically be taking the emotion out of many decisions.

A core purpose that clearly defines exactly why an organisation exists is a powerful legacy a leader can create. It sets the path for others to follow. To build a strong workplace culture for your team, start by discovering your own core purpose and then refer to it every day. And, of course, have some fun with it!

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Tristan White

Tristan White

Tristan White is married to Kimberley and dad to little Alexandra (born in 2011). He's a qualified physiotherapist &amp; is best known as the founder &amp; CEO of <a href="http://www.thephysioco.com.au/">The Physio Co.</a> From 2009-2011, The Physio Co has ranked as one of Australia's 50 Best Places to Work and one of Australia's Fastest Growing Small Businesses. Tristan's passion is building The Physio Co to have a strong family culture. The simple approach of being honest, treating people with the respect they deserve and doing it all with a smile is working for Tristan and his TPC team! The Physio Co will provide more than <a href="www.thephysioco.com.au/site/1056/ThePhysioCo-CoreValues.pdf">100,000 physiotherapy visits to Australian aged care residents in 2012.</a> In 2011, Tristan's <a href="http://tristanwhite.com.au/">Culture is Everything</a> blog was listed as one Australia's 25 Best Business Blogs. Find out more by subscribing to <a href="http://tristanwhite.com.au/">Tristan’s blog</a>.

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