Strong culture and core values are the foundation of a well-functioning team. This applies to business, sports, and, yes, families. When business meets family, as often is the experience for farmers, family members need to work together to define the core values of their operation.
In this episode of The Mind Your Farm Business podcast, Greg Lingelbach, from TEC Canada, talks with Shaun Haney about culture, core values, and team performance.
The words team and culture go hand in hand. Lingelbach says he knows a team will struggle if they don’t have a strong culture with clearly defined values. Values need to be at the core of a business for there to be a strong culture and then, in turn, a strong team. Lingelbach says values should be considered in the hiring process: hire the right people who align with the core values and you are ninety percent on your way to a strong culture.
Now that we know how important culture is, how does a leader know when there is good culture in their environment? Lingelbach defines good culture is being seen, heard, and understood on your team; it is a sense of importance and feeling that you are cared for. It is important to note as well that good culture takes work. Culture is dynamic and changes with the relationships encompassed in the culture, if dynamics between team members change it effects culture. There needs to be communication to foster culture, Lingelbach adds that when a leader doesn’t have time to talk to employees it is a signal of the culture slipping.
With communication being so important to maintaining culture in a workplace, leaders must consider the personalities in their workplace. Everyone on a team will have a different perspective towards the culture and towards communication. Lingelbach says it is important to give team members the opportunity to showcase examples of their peers’ successes; this gives everyone a chance to voice their perspective on the culture and values of the team. (Story continues below)
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With the added influence of family dynamics into the business, Lingelbach says the key is to seek first understand and then be understood in order to ensure effective communication. Within family businesses there is often an assumption that there is good culture because there is common family values, but he urges leaders to reflect if they have actually discussed these values with their family members.
A challenge faced with family business is team members may not have the same values, this means the team must make efforts to communicate about their values. Lingelbach says when values differ between family members in a business they must communicate to reach a compromise. It is important to recognize the different challenges experienced between a brother and sister in business and employer and employee in order to maintain culture and dynamics. Lingelbach discusses how a family relationship creates a stronger team in hard times; if hard times hit a business an employee may jump ship, but a family members will stick together.
When businesses are faced with hard challenges they will preform better if there is a foundation of good culture. Lingelbach says dysfunctional teams are far less likely to succeed. Teams need to reflect on how stress is mitigated and managed to maintain health dynamics and reinforce the cultural foundations. In this regard, family has the advantage over a business as it is easier to reflect and be honest about stressors emotions with family members than with coworkers.