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Culture is bigger than chaos

Finding Customers

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Can your culture handle chaos?

Culture versus Chaos?As a business, your ability to handle chaos is dependent on the strength of your culture. With the way the business world is, chaos is not something even your best planning can expect to avoid - it just happens. Your culture is a different story. This is where you can fundamentally change your business reality, and the day-to-day experience of your employees and customers.

Chaos lives in the moment-to-moment content whereas culture is found in the ongoing context. Establish your company’s culture, and the chaos will feel a lot less overwhelming than it did before. It’s that simple and that important - and it’s non-negotiable.

The list of things that you don’t get a say in are many: the action (or inaction) of your competition, disruptive technology on the web, a key employee deciding to move on and start their own business, not to mention the overall economy and market conditions this quarter, or this decade.

So why is your company’s culture important in the face of so much unpredictability? Because your culture is the rudder that holds your line through the storm and sets the tone for how your business responds to it in every moment. Simply put, it’s your business’s transaction of its values in real time.

At EMyth, our evolution has certainly brought its share of challenges, but people have consistently asked us how we’ve been able to manage so much change over such a short period of time. The answer is that we invested countless hours of head and heart rebuilding our company’s culture, starting with our core values, before we got into transforming the content (the service offerings, pricing, what a new website would look like, etc.).

"Establish your company’s culture, and the chaos will feel a lot less overwhelming than it did before.
It’s that simple and that important - and it’s non-negotiable."

We talk a lot here about making an "and" between hierarchy and collaboration - here's an interesting article on the topic. While the article is about a younger generation of leaders, it applies to all business owners. Because whether or not Gen X’ers or Millenials are part of your staff or target market today, they will be soon, and that’s the world they want to be a part of. A strong culture is what allows adaptability and flux to work for you, not against you.

So, what can you do about it? Where do you start in building your culture, or finding out what it is? If you don’t have a strategic vision, write one. If you don’t know how to recruit based on your values and your brand, now’s the time to learn. If you haven’t answered the question “Why do I do what I do?”, that’s the place to start.

There are no quick fixes for creating a sustainable and profitable business - it’s a tough road. But when your culture is based on your values, your people know what those values are, and you’ve done the hard leadership work to organize your days more productively, chaos just puts a little more bounce in your step rather than dragging you down. In fact, when you stop being afraid of the unpredictable, you will do some of your most creative work. Can you imagine how that would feel?

Jonathan Raymond

Written by Jonathan Raymond

Jonathan was a frequent contributor to the EMyth blog from 2011-2015. His articles focus on marketing, branding, and organizational culture.