Culture is Fried Bread

Many years ago I have the wonderful privilege of working with a dynamic and wonderful lady named Mamie McCullough (http://www.mamie.com).  She and I worked together at the Zig Ziglar Corporation. She was a powerful speaker with great lessons through her stories. One such story as she told it was about a “rich” kid that she knew, who invited her over for breakfast to have French Toast. Growing up poor Mamie looked forward to such a wonderful delight coming all the way from France! To her dismay however, when she goes home she told her mama, “it’s nothing more than fried bread!” So to all of you that are confused or concerned about building a strong company culture, relax its just fried bread!

Based on my experience working with many great companies with strong cultures is that it’s not that complicated but it does take work. I think there are several key elements in building your company’s culture.

I believe that these elements are Vision, Mission, Values and Execution. These elements must be supported by a strong leader or leadership team. Culture is nothing more than acting on a compelling vision, with a strong mission. The execution must be planned and intentional with values as the anchor day to day activities. Leaders must lead and inspire their employee’s to live the mission through these values and not wavier.

In order for a vision to be embraced it must be a shared vision. Is your vision clear? Do other understand the role they play in the vision and mission? Do they fully understand by supporting the companies’ vision and mission they can realize their own? A large part of leadership, in my opinion, is the ability to clearly articulate a vision and inspire other to follow.

Values are the guiding principles that serve to guide all members of the organization in their day to day actions and activities. Values often considered are; integrity, service, quality, loyalty and excellence, take time to identify yours.

Culture is nothing more than acting on the vision with your values to guide you on a day in, day out basis. Leadership teams must provide the necessary tools to complete the vision, offer support and training where necessary. Great leaders must remain true to the vision and live by the same values they expect from others.

God’s people have a great culture, we have a vision for eternity, we have clearly defined values (Galatians 5:22, Exodus 20:1-17). Jesus shared His vision for us in so many ways, whether it be to love one another, to share the good news, or simply love God and serve Him completely!