Culture eats strategy for breakfast. It doesn’t matter how great your plans to introduce a new cannabis or CBD product to the market are if your culture weakens execution. Culture is how things get done around a company. Great leaders focus on the culture their leadership helps create as much as they focus on business strategy.
1. Focusing on resistors. The biggest trap I see cannabis industry leaders make when building culture is focusing on those who are resisting it. The logic goes something like this: “If I can get the resistors to support the culture, then everyone will support it.” Unfortunately, this only alienates those who want to help you build a high-performing culture in this space.
2. Undervaluing purpose. It’s in our human nature to want to be part of something bigger than our selves. Purpose helps us aim inspirationally and call upon our best selves to do our best work. Cultures that undervalue purpose dismiss human nature and build weaker cultures. This is the last thing any CBD company needs.
3. Spending time in meetings. Your presence as an owner has the greatest influence on how people experience the work environment. If you’re unavailable most of the time because you’re in meetings, you’re missing a major opportunity to shape the culture and climate intentionally. Culture will evolve regardless of what you do. Just make sure it’s one that you envision. I get that time is a commodity. It’s hard, believe me. But try your best to fit everyone you need to into your calendar.
4. Under-communicating. We need to hear a message seven times before grasping its meaning. I tell my clients this all the time. In this industry it may be a bit more (LOL). When you communicate expectations one-and-done won’t cut it. Make sure your team knows what’s expected of them. Clarity is key to a positive culture.
5. Thinking in silos. When you make changes in one area of your business, anticipate the impacts on other areas of the company. Thinking in silos reduces people’s effectiveness, limits ideas, and weakens organizational performance. Your company is a system. When you build culture, anticipate its impacts throughout the company.
6. Spreading negativity. You’re not going to like every decision made or approach your company takes. As a leader you set the tone. Be mindful of your mood and what you’re spreading. Spreading negativity, even if unintentional, creates an unhealthy oppositional culture that severely hampers results.
7. Thinking short-term. It’s a business trap to focus solely on profit. While it’s an important business metric, it’s short-term in nature. Short-term thinking routinizes our goal setting behaviors to focus on the near horizon and not on the long-term benefits or traps of a strategy or decision. Great leaders balance short-term thinking with long- term planning and thinking. The cannabis industry lacks this talent as it seems so many people enter it seeking the big buck with the next big thing. Ugh.
8. Promoting rugged individualism. No one person is more important than the team. When you single out your favorites and let them act on their own, you weaken your chances of benefiting from the wisdom of the crowd. We are stronger together than we are alone. Build a culture that promotes teamwork, not rugged individualism. I love my team for this. They are example setters in this arena.
9. Downplaying relationships. Our brains are wired to think about relationships. It’s a mistake to not tap into building relationships within a team and across the business. It satisfies a basic human desire to connect with others. Great leaders avoid promoting the rugged individual. Instead they connect people together to help facilitate results and create a culture of connection.
10. Overlooking social needs. Mistakes number 8 & 9 tap into our biology: our need to work alongside people on important, meaningful, and purposeful activities. It’s also a mistake to build a culture that downplays our need for socializing at work. Great leaders encourage friendships at work. It helps build an affiliative style culture. This is a culture that advocates relationships and personal growth. Employees don’t want to just show up and leave. They want a meaningful work experience. Our biology positions us to be social. Great leaders leverage our biology to build great cultures. It’s time our industry acts professional and mainstream.