6 Steps to Update Your Company Culture

January 19, 2018

The culture of a real estate company has a direct correlation with its success. But for your business to survive long-term, the culture needs to change with the times, which isn’t always easy. Old habits can be hard to break.

“The challenge is that most people live every day without much thought to the patterns and habits that are guiding their daily business life, or even their general life,” says Andi Simon, a corporate anthropologist and author of On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. “In a corporate setting, leaders espouse values, beliefs, and expectations so people know what to do and how to get it done. Everything is fine until something begins to change, and that culture must change, too.”

If your brokerage is in need of a cultural change, Simon suggests these six steps.

1. Examine your culture today. Simon suggests outlining what your company currently values in terms of six key areas:

  • dominant characteristics
  • organizational leadership
  • management of agents and employees
  • “the glue” that holds the organization together
  • strategic emphases
  • criteria of success

2. Ask what your company should value tomorrow. Consider what you want your culture to become, she says. Should it be less controlling and more empowering? More results oriented or more collegial? Do rules “rule,” or are you open to new ideas and empowering agents and staff?

3. Hear what others have to say. Ask your agents and staff members to talk about what your company culture is today. “Let them all create a visualization of how you get things done now,” Simon says.

4. Visualize changes. What will tomorrow’s culture feel like? How will you get things done? Will people be enabled to make decisions or take risks? “Frame this with stories,” Simon says. “[Stories] are how the brain takes data and makes sense out of it.”

5. Create pilot experiments. Change can be hard, but taking small steps will allow people to see how the new culture is actually going to feel when they live it, Simon says. “Set up some small win situations for your folks to test it out,” she suggests. “Think of this as if it is improvisation with good rehearsal time. You are asking people to change what they value, their beliefs, or their behaviors. That’s not easy, and it’s full of risk.”

6. Acknowledge wins. Many people thrive when they share experiences and celebrate wins. “You need to seriously think about which rituals you will no longer do and which new ones you will introduce,” Simon says. “Be careful, though. Things that didn’t seem important can be very sacred to people when you are taking them away.”

Source: Andi Simon, www.andisimon.com