What Culture Will You Build as a Business Owner?

If you’ve ever worked at a corporate job you hated because of a dreadful company culture, it can be exciting to think about owning a business of your own. Finally, you have the opportunity to create a great place to work! As the person who sets the tone for the entire workplace, you have power and responsibility in equal measure. It’s up to you to be aware of the type of culture you are creating and steer it in your desired direction.

Here are some of the factors that come into play when you start crafting a workplace culture:

  • Your work and life philosophy, beliefs, and values
  • Your personality and strengths
  • The quality of people you choose to hire
  • The behaviors you deliberately or unknowingly model, permit, support, or discourage
  • Your degree of imagination and creativity
  • Your level of self-awareness as a leader

The Four Types of Workplace Culture

The Franchise Performance Group (FPG) identifies four basic types of business culture. If you’ve had a few jobs in the past, you may recognize one or more of these from prior experience. In the franchising model, these cultures/relationship models can exist at the franchisor/franchisee level and within each individual franchise. Here’s a quick review of the four cultures:

1. Bureaucracy: This is a very hierarchical structure with power distributed from the top down, layer upon layer. Decisions are made from on high and everyone is expected to follow the rules. Suggestions from those at the bottom of the organization are usually met with resistance and change happens very slowly. Stability and security are paramount and compliance is given precedence over results.

2. Benevolent Dictatorship: Management is informal and stress levels are low. Employees typically feel they are being treated well and have found a good place to work. However, advancement is based more on relationships than performance. This is a low conflict environment that’s attractive to people who want to feel like someone is looking out for them, but tends to frustrate those with ambition.

3. Command and Control: Like the bureaucracy and the dictatorship, power is consolidated at the top. However, this culture is very results-driven (and those results are always about what matters to the key decision-makers). Reward and punishment are used liberally to drive performance and meet objectives. The organization’s goals come first and employees are expected to leave their personal lives outside the workplace.

4. Achievement: This culture is also focused on results, but leaders take the role of facilitating success rather than enforcing rules or controlling behavior. Communication tends to be more transparent and workers are given significant autonomy to make decisions. There is a lot of room for mobility and personal achievement, but everyone is expected to pull together to elevate their team, the business, and the brand.

Which Culture Fits You?

In reviewing the cultures above, consider which one resonates most with you. Keep in mind that your perspective as a boss may be very different than it was as an employee. For example, you might feel more comfortable with a Command and Control culture if you are running a business in a low-skill industry with high turnover. If you have a strong desire to be liked and want a “family” atmosphere, a Benevolent Dictatorship role might be the best match. The Achievement culture is very attractive to many entrepreneurs since it suits their personality and values.

Whichever culture you choose to create, make it part of the mission and vision statement for your business. Communicate this message to job candidates to ensure you are attracting employees who will be the right fit. Finally, don’t be afraid to adjust over time. As you get better at running a business, your leadership style may change. During your annual review, consider whether your company culture is helping you reach your goals—and if you are helping your employees reach theirs.

As part of our assessment methodology at FranNetDFW, we help our clients identify the underlying characteristics that will determine how they run their business. It’s a fascinating process, and we encourage you to delve into it with us! Contact our team today to start your no-cost consultation.

Apr 18, 2017