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Small Business Digest


Six Steps to Fostering a Culture of Growth

Building a culture of growth within a small business is no easy task, especially given today’s troublesome economy and fast-changing world. But companies that strive to do the right thing often find that good things will happen.

Tom Peterson, co-founder and president of Clear Vision Information Systems, offers six ways to get started:  

  1. Build from a foundation of trust. Trust is the most complex and most fragile of all of the ethical principles contained in character, and it is also the most vital. Focus on upholding the four key elements of trust – integrity, honesty, promise keeping and loyalty. And never take for granted the trust that others have placed in you and your organization. 
  2. Hire from the heart. Hire people with good values and good heart: the technical aspects of any task can be learned. How do you know if they possess these personal attributes? Trust your gut. Do you think this person understands compassion? Can you speak with them – and them with you – comfortably? Is this the kind of person you want representing your company? If you look for and hire good people, good will come from it. 
  3. Understand balance in life. People have families, outside interests and non-work commitments. Leaders must recognizes this and allow each employee to keep a balance. If someone has a family matter to attend to – whether sad times taking care of an ill loved one or happy times at a child’s birthday – that is where they should be. Let them know that. When companies show employees this kind of understanding and respect, it is returned many times over in loyalty and commitment. 
  4. Reward and recognize achievement. If you give your employees a chance to grow, other employees will see that there is a path to advancement within the company. They also know that great work – and great work ethics – are valued and rewarded. Take the time to say “thank you” and let employees know that their work is appreciated.  
  5. Welcome debate. Good leaders surround themselves with smart people, often smarter than they are; and they encourage debate and honest discussion. Everyone benefits from this. But along with this make sure you have a system where final decisions can be made once all the information has been gathered and the debate has subsided. Know when it’s time to stop discussion and come to a decision. 
  6. Have a passion for what you do. There is no value in spending time doing something to which you are not fully committed and don’t look forward to doing. Building a culture of growth requires finding partners, board members, employees and even vendors who share this passion and values. It is evident if they do. And perhaps more important, evident if they don’t.

  Tom Peterson is co-founder and president of Clear Vision Information Systems

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