Building A Great Team Through Company Culture

company culture

Currently, at Avenir IT, we have a team of 20 employees. This includes help desk engineers, team leaders, NOC technicians, administration, a lonely salesperson, and our management team. Due mostly to growth - only 8 were with us prior to the pandemic. This means that we’ve added 12 talented individuals to our roster. A roster that I admire and appreciate very much.

I’m currently taking a “beta” training course offered by my all-time favourite and life-changing author Mike Michalowicz on how to have our employees feel like owners. Mike has developed this course to help him with the topic of his next book on how to build a team of superstar “A” players - and have 30 businesses at his disposal to see how his program works in real life.

To be honest - a lot of the content so far has been a reminder of what is important in an organization and emphasizing what we do great and where we need to revisit or change how we do certain things. We often think that in order to build a great team, we just need to hire great people, but too many times business owners forget the importance of building an organization that will attract the “A” players. A safe environment that will give them a feeling of belonging while increasing their confidence and self-esteem. Where they feel respected, heard, and understood. An organization that is not just about “you” - but also about the most important aspect, and the only reason you can succeed in business - your team (and of course great customers!).

These qualities are usually evident and experienced through great company culture. Now if you’ve been reading my stuff for a while, you know that I’ve written about our culture in the past and have done talks on the subject since I’ve always felt that we’ve had an amazing culture - however, Covid has really put that to the test!

In my province of Manitoba - group outings are still not permitted - and haven’t been permitted for nearly 15 months. While we’ve tried to split the team up to do a distanced lunch - the ability to build a strong, tight-nit team has been an extremely hard challenge. But what I’ve discovered through our latest hires is that our culture and way of being is still apparent in our attitudes, our systems, and the clients that we serve.

The funny thing I realized last week was that we’ve built such a strong sense of ownership and pride in our team - that the folks that have been with us throughout our recent growth spurt are constantly coming to me to tell me how we can be better, how we need to change some of our systems or how we simply are not good enough.

I often took that as a sign of them being unhappy or disliking their environment when the opposite was true. In fact, in the past month or so, I’ve had three employees set me aside to tell me how much they love working for an organization that allows them to voice their opinions and be heard. To feel appreciated and listed to. We brought on three new engineers in the last two weeks - of which one couldn’t believe how well our team works together and helped him throughout his first weeks. How appreciated and cared for he felt - and how we legitimately care about how his work may affect his personal life.

Building a great team starts with you and the culture that you build through your personal values and company’s “immutable laws”. (See my blog post “No Jerks Allowed” for more on that). But it’s more than just writing your values on paper and yelling them at the team - you need to live and breath them - which will attract the right people to apply and work for your company. Some may not appreciate it or agree with you, and that’s OK. In fact - they’ll typically leave on their own which is good in the long run as this was just another job to them. And folks with little motivation or pride in the organization rarely turn out to be “A” players.

You know what I look most forward to once the pandemic is over? Hosting my work family for a steak bbq, backyard party, and most of all a family group picture. Cause these are my people - and I appreciate them so very much.