Twice a year, our team meets for business planning sessions.
We convene at a beautiful lakefront property a few hours north of Toronto. We plan and make meals together. Our meetings are followed by boating and swimming in the summer, and cross country skiing or attending concerts in the winter. Our culture is casual, fun, team-oriented and collaborative.
A few years ago, another coach was considering joining our team. On paper, he had all the right qualifications. So as part of our selection process we invited him to one of our retreats.
It was obvious he wasn't a fit. He did not gel with our team and atmosphere. He didn't offer to do the dishes once. He didn't end up joining us.
If you had to define the culture in your office, what words come to mind? I've heard advisory firms described as professional, competitive, fun and creative. An advisor I spoke to recently was looking to make a change as he was tired of working in a culture of fear.
If you're trying to foster a better culture within your practice, try these steps:
1. Define your ideal culture by determining your values and beliefs.
2. Assess where you are now. How would you, your employees, and clients describe the culture of your office? If you want an honest answer from team members, sometimes using a third party facilitator or an anonymous survey can help.
3. Are there gaps between the ideal and your current reality? You may need to make some changes. Maybe it's a certain team member who is not a fit. A communication strategy may help your team and clients understand your culture.
4. Take corrective measures. For instance, if helping people is one of your core values, but doesn't reflect in the team's daily activities, a team-building event like working together at a charity may help.
5. Sometimes it's your physical environment. Moving to an office that better reflects the potential of the firm could boost productivity.