Management Practices

Stoking Your Culture

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 1:36 PM
By Neil Ducoff

If you’re not stoking your culture, who is?

Leadership encompasses tenacity, details, communication, people, productivity, quality, strategy, operations, finance, probing, innovation and much more. While leaders are occupied with all of these distractions, who is minding the culture of the company? Too often, the answer is no one.

Leaders are responsible for fostering a culture capable of executing strategies and getting results. Reality check: At this very moment, how many of your company’s great ideas, new projects, new programs and systems are stalled, broken down or sitting around like expensive, rusting hulks littering the race track?

There is no greater danger to a business’ ability to execute and produce results than a free-floating culture. Such a culture forms when leaders succumb to distractions. Stoke cultures and keep them burning bright with these jump-start tips:

  • Get hard-wired into your company by connecting with your team. Your culture is free-floating if you’re spending more time working “in” the business than “on” it.
  • Focus the abilities of everyone in the company by communicating; explain what needs to be done and keep the process moving forward.
  • Focus on driving the four business outcomes: productivity, profitability, staff retention and customer service. If one outcome slips, all will slip. The mandate is, “No compromise.”
  • Stoking your culture is an ongoing commitment from business leaders to their team and customers—a commitment to be the best. It’s the only way to win the game.

Stoking Your CultureNeil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching company specializing in the salon and spa industry. During his 38 years as a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker and author, Ducoff has gained respect as the guru of team-based compensation. Ducoff is the author of Fast Forward, the definitive business resource book for salons and spas. You can order a signed copy of his new book, No-Compromise Leadership, at Email Neil at

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