Double Iron Consulting: Building Strong Cultures in Business

(Credit: A family business owner that Double Iron Consulting can help plans at laptop computers) A family business owner that Double Iron Consulting can help plans at laptop computers
April 24
10:56 AM 2023

It's incredibly common for family firms to find themselves struggling to develop a genuine corporate culture for their businesses. Many corporations owned by families face difficulties in creating a positive environment and a strong set of beliefs.

An unstable culture in a family-owned firm can lead to backlash, criticism, and other difficulties. Developing an enduring work environment is integral for such companies. Knowing where to start can be tough. Today's Double Iron Consulting guide addresses some of the key points that can help.

Family Firms: the Trouble with Close Relationships

Running a business is hard. There's a lot to juggle, including managing relationships. At family-run firms, close family relationships can sometimes result in trouble.

It's not uncommon for family members to fall out or disagree, with disputes, concerns, or worries readily aired during business hours. This can result in tension and arguments, leading to a difficult environment that isn't conducive to solving problems.

Corporate Culture in Family Companies

Close family relationships can significantly impact company owners' management styles, which can cause trouble in the higher ranks of the firm. This is especially true if some of the business owners have different opinions on how the firm should be run.

This may present a major challenge as it can prevent the company from developing a strong corporate culture. This has a direct influence on the business owner's ability to make decisions, and it's not uncommon for family-run firms with a lack of harmony among management to struggle with decision-making.

How to Build an Enduring Culture in Family-Run Firms

Family businesses often experience arguments and disagreements, so taking steps to prevent this is integral to the success of any family-run firm.

This isn't a two-minute job, but with a suitable strategy, as outlined in the five steps below, a company can establish an effective corporate culture. This will allow business leaders to inspire their staff and make better choices.

A businesswoman that Double Iron Consulting can help sits at her computer and smiles
(Photo : A businesswoman that Double Iron Consulting can help sits at her computer and smiles)

#1: Define the Values

The most important aspect of developing a corporate cultural shift is to define the key values of the business. Identifying these will lead to cultural focus since it's expected for staff members to follow and demonstrate these values.

Corporate culture needs to not only tie into business values but also address the firm's core motivations, vision, and goals. 

Family-run firms with well-developed cultural norms will be the ones that closely follow their founding principles. This enduring focus can help ensure that the firm runs smoothly.

#2: Support New Learning

Another important principle in developing corporate culture is supporting new learning. Encouraging staff members to learn about the business values and core principles can help strengthen the brand's cultural focus.

Ensuring that all members of the company share the same values can make a significant impact on the strength of the culture.

#3: Focus on the Leadership

When developing cultural shifts within the brand, choosing a leader who can support and inspire such changes is highly important. Trying to strengthen a family firm's culture will often prove next to impossible if leadership doesn't embrace these shifts themselves. When trying to develop a change in a business's cultural trends, a business owner should ensure that leaders, especially the CEO, share and follow these principles openly. It's not enough to simply train people on the concept; leading by example is much more effective.

#4: Support a Growth Mindset

Despite a company's best efforts, there is only so much one can do to encourage people to accept a brand's culture. While hiring the right people helps, it doesn't ensure positive results.

Supporting a growth mindset allows teams to embrace a new cultural direction. In doing so, staff and family members alike are supported to uphold the company's values and beliefs.

#5: Monitor Core Focuses Regularly

In family business models, regular monitoring of the current - and target - values is critical. In many scenarios, it's easy for small alterations to creep into the running of the brand, especially if the firm has a management team largely composed of relatives who don't see eye to eye. This may also be common in cases whereby the brand's objectives and strategy don't align with the cultural aspects.

Monitoring the overall culture of the firm can help ensure that other influences don't take hold of its environment and belief system. Monthly checks can ensure that any arising complications or threats to the corporate culture are addressed quickly and easily.

Final Thoughts

The importance of corporate culture cannot be stressed enough, but this is a goal that many family-run companies miss. It's easy to focus on other aspects of the firm's mission and overlook the value of a positive environment and strong corporate culture.

Nonetheless, this doesn't have to be the case. Even firms that have historically neglected this aspect of the business can enhance their approach with several simple strategies. William Smith, Royal Cup Coffee's former CEO, set out to support this with Double Iron Consulting - and as a result, there's always support available when a business needs it most. 

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