By Kent Anderson, Raise the Bar

Today, more than ever, the word ‘culture’ is used to describe business performance. Despite some feeling that the current focus on culture is modern-day nonsense, culture is integral to a business’s performance – particularly in hospitality.

At the commencement of team performance and workshops, I ask my clients to define culture. Without exception, the prolonged silence is eventually followed by muffled talk of a ‘vibe’ and ‘how we do things’ or, to use today’s parlance, ‘how we roll’.

On the surface, sure it’s how we roll, solve problems, socialise etc, however, what we actually find is that culture is not about ‘how’ we do things but ‘why’ we do them. In fact, why we do things often determines how we do things.

Basically, it comes down to what culture is – shared values, attitudes and beliefs. These three traits exist in all groups, so, if it’s inevitable that culture is currently forming in your team, wouldn’t you prefer it to be a culture of your own design?

Bruce Springsteen sings “Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowin’, I took a wrong turn and I just kept goin’.” Essentially, this will be your team’s culture if you neglect to actively shape it. The aim is to be the captain of the culture ship and constantly navigate it accordingly.

If ever there’s an industry that requires a crusade mentality in its teams, it’s pubs. When a large part of your workplace is filled with casual backpackers and students, the struggle for operators is motivating the team to strive in a job that is not their chosen long term profession. To do this, I recommend ensuring it’s not about the job. Instead, ensure it’s about something bigger than that and create a culture that people want to be a part of.

To find out how to build a good working culture in your venue, see the June edition of Australian Hotelier.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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