To Start Building a Better Culture, Don’t Begin with “Values”

Reading Time: 
2 min

Written by: Tobias Günther

10 years ago, I began building a better culture in my company.

But I started at the wrong end. 🙈
And I see many founders and leaders make the same mistake.
Let’s make sure that you don’t make it, too!

* * *

But first, we need to start with a tiny bit of context.

We had scheduled two days with the whole team. In a nice conference room, with a lot of coffee. We were ready to start the workshop. Our goal? To define our “company values.”

We brainstormed, had great discussions, and carefully listened to each other. We came up with lots of ideas. And most of them really made a lot of sense! So we wrote those things down, in our intranet where we could all see them and be reminded of them.

But over the next few months, not much changed. Even though the “values” we had defined made a lot of sense! What was going on?

The answer is simple: we weren’t ready.

We had started at the highest possible level (values / vision / mission), but had ignored two problems:

  1. We had no idea how to make these things a reality in our team.
  2. We hadn’t covered the basics.

What we should have done instead — and what we indeed set out to do some years later - was to work on the foundational skills and topics:

  • better communication
  • building stronger relationships
  • developing self-awareness
  • developing a growth mindset
  • designing more productive meetings
  • reducing stress

These things — in contrast to lofty “values” — are very tangible. Very actionable. With a clear path forward, clear results, clear benefits. Over time, we established concrete habits, designed concrete processes, and tried concrete practices.

After some time — and a lot of work in these areas — I took another look at the values we had defined. NOW they were actually alive in our team. Although we hadn’t worked on them directly.

The Moral of the Story?

Work on the basics: on better communication, building stronger relationships, establishing healthy habits…

And the rest will take care of itself.

Free 3-Month Training

Join Our Masterclass Program for Free —And Learn to Build a World-Class Team

"Building Better Teams" is a guided masterclass for founders and leaders who want to build healthy and successful teams. It combines a unique curriculum, lots of practical tools, and hands-on mentorship from successful CEOs and founders.

We now offer the first 3 months of this program for free. Learn more and apply for a chance to take part!

Learn More and Apply