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Nine secrets to creating a culture of Esprit de Corps within your business

Esprit de Corps can be described as the commitment of a group to persistently pull together in pursuit of a common purpose, often in the face of great adversity. Wouldn’t it be great if you had that power and energy within your business?

Groups demonstrating high levels of esprit de corps include military units and sports teams, particularly those with a single purpose. So without a battle to win, or world cup at stake, how can you engender this esprit de corps within the daily life of your business or team at work?

The key to success lies in a whole tapestry of factors, the top nine secrets are provided below:

#1 – Know and communicate your clear WHY?

Whilst creating shareholder value might be why most businesses feel they need to exist, businesses consistently outperforming those with a pure financial focus, have a deeper reason for owning their share of the market. Simon Sinek demonstrates this perfectly with his Golden Circle, see his TED Talk Start with Why – here.

Inspiring your team members to turn out their ‘best self’, every day with an intrinsic motivation to perform at the highest level possible can only come from a clear and well communicated reason for doing so. This reason has to feed a desire to make a difference or to achieve something greater than the individual. You may have heard the story of the cleaner who when asked by President Kennedy what his job at NASA was, he replied he was helping put a man on the moon.

If your business has been established for many years, go back and look for the reason it was originally set up and what the founding principles and values were at the time. Most businesses are started because the founders thought there was a better way to do something than existed at the time. Many businesses have since created unique positions in the market for their products or services that provide a unique way of doing something to provide a niche value proposition.

Think about how your customers benefit from you. For example do you enable, enrich, improve or, empower them?

#2 – Create and communicate your value system

Define those things that make your culture. These are the things that everyone displays, the often unwritten rules that everyone in the business abides by. Consider those things that define “How we do things around here”.

Netflix have created a compellingly clear employee handbook based around their vision and values. Continuously communicating these consistent values to all employees at every available opportunity is essential to making them understood, particularly if you are experiencing rapid growth and recruiting new staff on a regular basis.

#3 – Live by your own values

Leading by example is the best way to create real buy in from your team, for example if you state honesty as a core value then be absolutely honest, if you state hard work as a core value then don’t disappear to play golf at every opportunity. The higher up you sit within a business, the more correct towards your values your actions need to be. Being a senior member of any team should be seen as a true privilege and an opportunity to demonstrate your absolute commitment to what you expect from others by showing them yourself. Actions speak louder than words.

#4 – Create a common aim

Creating a single mission with smaller milestone achievements along the way is a great way to get everyone focussed on the same thing. It has to be something everyone believes in and will gain something from being part of, not financial gain but a feeling of wellbeing, self-respect or most importantly PRIDE.

The common aim could be achieving a mission, such as putting a man on the moon, or a specific product on the shelf. It might be attaining a specific standard of quality, an award or winning an account.

Whatever it is, everyone should be aligned to achieving the goal and all decisions should be based around continuously moving the team towards it…

Goals should be significant and meaningful; however a large, long-term goal, which many may feel unattainable, is best broken into chunks that enable people at all levels to recognise are being accomplished and to feel part of.

#5 – Hold a siege

Creating a siege mentality can produce outstanding results; an us-against-them attitude made Sir Alex Ferguson the most successful manager in British football history. This works particularly well if you are in a David and Goliath situation, with no money and no time but a team who desire success and use innovation and simplicity to their advantage is a winning formula used by many technology start-ups with amazing results.

Identify the main threat to your business and focus all your attentions on overcoming it. Use the power of your enemy against them by reflecting it back with your team’s grit and determination to prevail.

#6 – Be aspirational

Metaphors in business can be extremely powerful, like becoming the “Rolls Royce of…” whatever your product or service may be. If you are serious about your team delivering to this standard then let them touch and smell what it really looks like, even if it means a day out to the local Rolls Royce show room. You have to mean it and your team has to understand what you mean.

Always be specific, how will you all know what good looks like when you get there?

#7 – Celebrate

Most journeys will have bumps in the road and a true esprit de corps will know what it’s like to have to support each other through adversity. Being emotionally resilient is a critical component to achieving this spirit but it also means when small wins are achieved the team cherishes the moment to celebrate success. If you see a sports team score a goal watch how they celebrate and consider if your team has the same emotion and appetite for celebration when things go well for them. Providing permission to celebrate is essential and a well-deserved treat boosts your team’s morale.

# 8 – Eat together

The saying goes that the family, who eat together, stays together and the same can be said for teams.

Eating together is an extremely powerful way to bond a team, have team meals when project milestones are reached. On a daily basis creating a place to eat together or organising food such as a pizza delivery whilst people work late to meet a deadline builds bridges and breaks down silos.

#9 – Communicate with passion

If the leaders of a business aren’t passionate about what they do and why, then it is unrealistic to expect anyone to be. An intense desire and enthusiasm to deliver your clear and common purpose is the beating heart at the centre of any project or organisation.

As a small business owner, Stephen has grown Euro Projects Recruitment from a start up to becoming one of the UK’s leading technical, engineering and manufacturing recruitment companies, he is also a mentor for small business owners in developing countries through the Cheri Blair International Foundation for Women in Business and a regular contributor to the Cranfield University School of Management Business Growth Programme.

To read more blogs on turning your SME into a world class business visit www.europrojects.co.uk/blog/

How you can recruit and develop transformational people for your business? Call us today on 01530 833825 for a free and no-obligation consultation.

Why do the most successful engineering and manufacturing companies choose Euro Projects Recruitment as their recruitment partner? Watch our video Our Passion for People…