Creating Culture Enthusiasts: Part 1

Who do you believe more? The paid spokesman telling you that “Brand X” is the best or your neighbor who spent the entire dinner talking about how she can’t live without it? Enthusiasts influence.

So, how do we go about instilling enthusiasm for our brand within our workforce?

Let’s look at what enthusiasm is: 1) a lively interest 2) something inspiring zeal or fervor 3) strong excitement of feeling.

Can you imagine if all your employees had zeal for your organization? Not just for their specific job—although job satisfaction plays into this. But real fervor and excitement for your company. For your mission. For your story. Just think about what could be accomplished if employees became an advocate of your brand.

It’s truly win-win. Employees are happy, productive and committed, which leads to great success for the corporation.

So, how do you get there? First things first, you have to have something people can get excited about. There has to be something they can rally around. Maybe it’s your product that drives it. Maybe it’s your leader. Maybe it’s a service you provide. Those specifics can vary. But all of those things go into making up the culture. And that, we all have. Whether it be good, bad or stagnant. Your company culture is there. In the most simplistic of terms, the culture is simply the personality of the organization.

The cultural core of a company is composed of the beliefs, values, standards, worldviews, moods, and communication of the people that are part of the group. These are the invisible manifestations of culture. They are the really powerful stuff. Some of the tangibles, or visible manifestations, that your culture may help define are the dress code, the work environment, the benefits and perks and so on.

Take a moment and think about your organization. What are the intangibles? The tangibles?

My judgment would be that if you immediately had several responses come to mind, that were positive, then you have a pretty healthy culture. You’re in a good spot to continue building. If you had to struggle a bit, think a little bit harder, then a culture exploration might be a good initiative for you and your leaders to work through. I’ve blogged on that before.

Once you identify your culture components, how do you make sure those on staff are aware? Because even though something exists, that does not mean that people are actively aware of it—engaged and enthusiastic.

The first step is this exercise. Putting concrete definition around your organization’s culture. It can be pulled from internal attributes or taken from the public mission of the company, or both. Again, this is examined more closely in my blog. I also know you can find other resources to help in this process. The culture at my agency SicolaMartin certainly represents both—internal and external components. Every single employee will tell you that SicolaMartin make the complex compelling. It’s the positioning statement. But they’ll also talk about the Flying Saucer, the Ninja Awards, the 3 I’d Martian, the core values of respect and honesty, monthly staff meetings, the People Team and the fact that the President kicked everyone else’s ass in Wii Olympics.

You want to make sure that whatever your culture is, you have people on board who will embrace it. This concept has to be a key point of strategy in recruiting, onboarding and throughout career development.

I utilize three key opportunities for culture installation. Simply put, be authentic, be consistent and follow through. We’ll dive deeper into how to make each of these work for you in the next section.

Originally published February 7, 2012, on