by Eric B.

Transparency and purpose play prominent roles at VSE, as they should for any organization seeking out and maintaining triple- and quadruple-bottom line business. Our yearly kick-off is one of the ways we work to be as transparent as possible, recognize our accomplishments, and align ourselves in purpose.

Transparency and purpose play crucially into intentional culture. If you want to succeed and grow your business (or at least find an amazing place to work), then you want your culture to be intentional.

On the other side, not having intentional culture can hurt all parties involved, when people operate without focus, are uncoordinated, or feel disconnected.

A strong intentional culture requires more than pointing at values posted on the wall, repeating mantras or reciting customer personas.

So, if you want to learn how to create an intentional culture—or just see what it’s like working at VSE—then take a look at our recap of the 2017 VSE Kick-off, with all the highlights, stats, and of course the photo reel.

How To Create An Intentional Culture

1. Refine and evolve core values through observation – In 2016, we distilled our core company values, turning 36 behaviors into 7. In 2017, we will continue to measure engagement and results, evaluate, and find ways to increase and reassess our alignment.

2. Take a deep look at your own governance and strategy. Consider current function and needs now versus legacy – Over the past few years we have ironed out VSE’s organizational structure, literally flattening it through a system of self-management called Holacracy, a “peer-to-peer ‘operating system’ that increase transparency, accountability, and organizational agility.”

The following strategies align with our focus on innovation and long-term growth, in pursuit of our goal to scale and grow 10x in 2017:

  • Swift experimentation (minimizing risk to business value)

  • Data-driven decisions over intuition, including big data forecasting, predictive analytics, and real-time analysis

  • Investment in long-term value over short-term profit

  • Diversify revenue sources within existing products as well as new ones

  • Prioritize recurring, committed revenue over spontaneous revenue

3. Define your culture, outwardly, inwardly and routinely – Once you have determined what your culture is—its values, behaviors, beliefs, purpose, how it operates—then you can reinforce this by modeling behaviors and aligning the work environment itself. To this end, we rebranded both the look and feel of the VSE website, and redesigned functionality and messaging to reflect our purpose-driven, self-organizing culture.

4. Make your action sustainable – Last year we launched new recruitment tools to expand our talent pool, while jettisoning some ventures and incubate businesses that weren’t experiencing expected returns. Still, we charged forward! Successes include significantly growing our Spanish-speaking business, testing new pricing models and referral programs, and launching a brand new mobile app for one of our advisor and expert advice services.

We also engaged customers through our socially responsible kindness campaign and gave more VSE employees the opportunity to work from home ☺

What are your thoughts on creating intentional culture in the workplace for a more fun and purpose-driven environment? Let’s discuss in the comments below.