business culture vs vibe

This Is Why Perceptions Are Hurting Your Business

By Asa Beavers | leadership , team building

It might be your business culture is out of whack, and your customers are hiding their real perceptions from you.

Culture, really? How could that be out of whack?

Okay, so this article was going to be about how small businesses can go about defining and nurturing the culture of their business...

But once I did some due diligence by asking several business owners directly what they thought the culture of their business is, I found out...

Culture isn’t something that gets a lot of discussion in many small businesses. 

Sure, it can be hard to put your finger on at first. But all it takes is the willingness to dig deep and explore how you want your customer experience, and employee experience, to feel.

So I had to dig deeper with my objective being, to get small business owners thinking more about those hidden customer perceptions, and enough to be moved to take real action.

After all, having a good business culture is assumed to be important to making sure employees are happy, productivity is good, and customers feel welcomed.

One Definition of Culture

By one definition, culture is the common values, practices, and beliefs of a group of people. In these words, it means everyone in your business shares common values, practices, and beliefs. 

Really? I’m pretty sure such workgroups don’t exist.

People will align themselves to behave in a way that seems they buy into expressed company values. I’m not saying people don’t care, but company values aside, they really are there for the paycheck.

But on the other hand, there’s something important here that needs to be explored. Businesses emit something that forces customers and employees to create perceptions.

Which means a business owner needs to have an answer to this question…

“What is it I want my business to be known for?”

Is it the kind of business where customers remember it and recall it as…

“Isn’t ​that the place that does XXX, I love that place!”

Sure, culture is important. Values. Practices. Beliefs. All of them crucial to creating a lasting business entity.

But for employees and even customers, culture seems a bit stuffy and unrelatable.

Mission statements and core values on office walls, and on websites, show thought was put into the overall purpose of the business, but emulating them in real life is, well, difficult to relate to.

That’s when I had a blinding flash of the obvious.

Business Culture Is Important, But Vibe...

VIBE is the word I think of when I think about how I feel about a particular business.

I expect integrity, honesty, humility and communication when I patronize a business. Employees expect the same when they join a business. That’s the minimum price of entry for most good businesses.

But the vibe of a business tells me they have nurtured an employee and customer experience that makes me feel comfortable and one that makes me want to come back.

What nailed vibe down as THE business term I was seeking, is the definition I found in the Urban Dictionary

Vibe (noun): A distinctive emotional atmosphere; sensed intuitively.

BOOM! That’s exactly how I want small business owners to think when it comes to culture. Small businesses may not have the time or desire to define their company’s culture, but they can relate to creating an atmosphere in which employees work joyfully, and an atmosphere customers crave.

The culture of a business emits a vibe. It’s how customers, and employees, feel about the business atmosphere.

And it’s sensed intuitively. Our senses are fed by the environment, by the actions of staff, and by the energy coursing through the workplace.

Don’t tell me you haven’t been someplace and thought to yourself, “Gee, this would be a sucky place to work”.

Think about your experiences. Here are a few I came up with:

  • As an infrequent visitor to the doctor’s office, but every time I’m there they are ‘running behind’ leaving me sitting for 20-30 minutes past my appointment time without even acknowledging the fact that I’m being inconvenienced.
  • The restaurant, where after being seated, doesn’t have a wait staff member ready to greet us immediately even though there’s plenty of them running around, and instead leaves us sitting wondering if we’re invisible.
  • The service business that promises a technician at a specific time, who then arrives late, blames the office staff for overbooking him, and proceeds to share all the company’s dirty laundry.

None of these experiences leave me feeling like those businesses have a ‘customer first’ mentality. They don’t make me feel like I’m a priority or even important. They don’t leave me craving more. In fact there’s a good chance I won’t patronize them again. And I certainly won’t refer them to anyone.

Perceived Indifference

It’s easy to sense, or perceive, that those businesses just don’t care enough. The business throws off a negative vibe. There’s not a culture that defines what they stand for. They simply offer a product or service they can profit from. That’s it. They don’t satisfy the customer experience.

Not like going to an Apple Store. I went back to Urban Dictionary to look for a label for Apple enthusiasts like me… we’re called Apple Fanboys. It’s a vibe, it’s a culture where providing the user with an experience comes first.

Disney World is another example. When you go there you are transported away from everyday life and into one known as the ‘magical kingdom’. I always get a kick seeing stick families with Mickey Mouse ears on the back of mini-vans. It’s a customer experience. It creates loyalty.

And you know the feeling when you have to return something, or call a service department because something went wrong? It’s that ping of anxiety knowing you could be in for a hassle. 

Well not when dealing with companies like Zappos or Amazon. They encourage returns if you’re not happy or something doesn’t fit. They make it as easy as possible to ensure a pleasant customer experience, no questions asked.

You might say, “Yes, but these are big businesses with enormous amounts of resources.”

Very true. Which should make it even harder to get thousands of employees serving millions of customers to get it right. But they do.

And you can too, even in your small business.

YOUR Business Has A Vibe

Do you know what it is?

Do you know how your business is perceived by customers, and by your employees?

Earlier I spoke of having the kind of business that customers will remember and recall as…

“that’s the place where [whatever it is that makes your business memorable], I love that place”.

How would you fill in that blank for your business?

Your business creates perceptions by throwing off a certain vibe. Understand what it is and learn to cultivate it.

During a business's lifetime it cycles through many stages. Problems come and problems go. But its vibe, and its culture, lasts forever.

Reach out to me if you’d like to dig deeper on this topic, and find out how you can use vibe to gain better control of your business and unlock its full potential. Use this contact form, or click here if you’d like to schedule a free 30 minute strategy call to explore what might work for you. And if you found this article useful please share it. That way others can learn how perceptions are shaped by the vibe of their business.

business scorecard

How To Accelerate Business Results Using A Scorecard

By Asa Beavers | performance management , productivity , Uncategorized

Let’s cut straight to the chase right now because, after all, what business isn’t seeking to accelerate results?

And this strategy might just be THE best thing you can do.

So, how does a business scorecard accelerate results? One word...

FEEDBACK

That’s right. Feedback is the special sauce your business needs to accelerate results. But the type of feedback I’m talking about might not be what your thinking.

Having a scorecard is one way to know if your business had a good day or not, and it provides essential feedback on most critical business activities.

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accountability responsibility performance management

How To Win Over Your Team And Increase Productivity

By Asa Beavers | performance management , productivity , team building

As a business leader have you ever caught yourself saying…

‘I wish people would just come to work and do their jobs’.

Having heard this many times in my work with business owners, here’s how I respond:

First, I listen and allow the business owner to vent for a few moments, then I remind them of these three facts:

  • They hired, trained, and manage the staff
  • The staff works for them
  • As the owner they’re ultimately accountable for staff performance

In other words, if they’re not happy with how people are performing in their business it’s on them to fix it.

So the $64,000 Question is: Did they establish clear expectations?

And that’s where these two words come into play:

Responsibility and Accountability.

Responsibility and accountability are the yin yang of performance management. They work well together, but they don’t mean the same things.

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how to practice focus

How to Ignore Distraction And Focus Like A Champ

By Asa Beavers | productivity

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could call-up our focus like we ring our smartphone when it’s gone missing?

Distractions are nothing new. In fact, many take pride in their ability to multi-task.

But with the proliferation of electronic devices running our lives, our ability to focus has taken a nosedive.

Here's the thing though...

Your focus is always there. It comes down to practicing how to find your focus when you need it most.

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Success comes to those who embrace the grind

By Asa Beavers | planning , productivity

What comes to mind when I say the word grind?

For me, the first thing that comes to mind is grinding something up; like a pepper grinder putting some fresh ground pepper on a juicy sirloin. I certainly like the thought of that!

Maybe you thought of grind as a sound. If you’ve ever driven a car with manual transmission, and you miss a shift, you’ll hear a grinding sound. Not pleasant, and not good for the car either.

Another thought that comes to mind is the feeling that, “work was such a grind today”. It connotes things didn’t go well, or it was hard, or it was long. Looking at it in this context definitely gives the word grind a negative feeling.

Putting in quality time to do the hard work necessary to achieve a goal or a new level of success requires a consistent routine. I call it the grind. To help you learn to embrace the grind download this free worksheet.

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