Every good business depends on good people who use their skills, talents and experience to deliver products and services to customers. As a business grows, managing team dynamics can be tough for an entrepreneur and if not done properly, can lead to an unproductive culture. Culture changes are difficult to monitor and unfortunately most culture changes are only obvious when an entrepreneur looks back over a period of time.
I am not sure many entrepreneurs running a small business appreciate how important culture is. Many cultures are a reflection of the entrepreneur who is leading the business and like any human being, entrepreneurs have blind spots that are hard to deal with unless there is a high level of self-awareness. A company culture will find its way into everything a business does. How it manages its relationships with customers, how team members interact, how accountability and responsibility are managed as well as numerous other dynamics that an entrepreneur may not even realize are at play. The best way to get a pulse on company culture is to hold regular team meetings where team members are given the opportunity to ask questions and raise issues. This type of forum is a great feedback loop for an entrepreneur but can also be a lot to manage.
It was announced this week that Google would be getting rid of its weekly all hands meetings in favour of of monthly meetings. Google began holding its weekly meetings in 1999 as a way for their team to connect and discuss issues. Over the years a smaller percentage of employees have been watching the weekly meetings. A decade ago 80% of the Google team would watch the weekly meetings with that number dropping to 25% today. Given the size of the Google team and the number of issues they would want to discuss, the decision to create monthly meetings is being done in an effort to provide a better forum for addressing the different concerns the Google team has. It’s hard not to appreciate that a large weekly all hands meeting would be very tough to manage and probably not as effective as it could be. It was also reported that employees have been sharing the internal meeting information with people outside of Google which has made it tough on the Google public relations folks.
Whether your business is large or small, your team matters. The culture that you encourage either directly or indirectly should include an opportunity for your team to give you feedback and ask questions. A business that is growing requires that the entrepreneur leading the charge have a good sense of where their team is. A entrepreneur that intentionally creates a genuine space for their team to bring issues and questions forward, is an entrepreneur that will have a great culture where people will want to use their skills, talents and experience to create value.