How to build a winning team culture

September 5, 2021

Unless you’ve been living under a Gill & Hooper shaped rock, you’ll know that we are passionate about building positive working cultures in the teams in which we work. For us, culture is at the core of what separates a high-performing team from an average one, and – as if we need to point it out – we’re not so big on average-performing teams.

Setting a team culture starts right at the, well, start. Getting it right means hiring the right people, establishing clarity and alignment around the team’s purpose and objectives, setting a positive tone around behaviours and attitudes that are expected, as well as, ultimately, being so protective of the team culture that there’s no place for any individual who doesn’t buy in to it.

Here are our four top recommendations for the things you need to consider when building your team culture.

1. RECRUIT FOR CULTURE, NOT EXPERIENCE

We’ve mentioned this before when we’ve spoken about the recruitment process, but it bears repeating here: experience in real estate and property management can be built, but an attitude that’s fundamentally at odds with your organisation’s values can rarely be turned around.

A key tool in your arsenal is here is establishing, and holding dearly, your organisation’s culture playbook. A critical tool in employee engagement, the culture playbook outlines expectations around behaviours and values, and serves as a benchmark and a framework under which employees can be held accountable for the way they approach their work.

With a playbook in place and actively informing employees’ understanding of what’s expected of them, the alignment of the team – another component of a high-performing and award-winning teams – becomes self-generating. That is, your culture is so embedded in your day-to-day operations that new employees are, by their nature, onboard with the team’s values and behaviours right from the outset.

2. SET UP A (GOAL) DRIVEN TEAM

How often do you talk to your team about what they want to achieve, and how regularly do you turn those conversations into specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART) goals? We’re not just talking about business goals (although we do mean them – and remember that incentivising team members according to what drives them is a critical employee engagement activity) but how else can your team work together to achieve positive outcomes?

This one might require some thinking outside of the box, but an activity we’ve found to be incredibly powerful in this space is to encourage teams to give back to the community in the form of service and volunteering. You don’t need us to tell you about how transformative the act of giving can be for individuals, and it’s equally so in the team context. Here at Gill & Hooper, we actively encourage teams to decide on, commit to and deliver on monthly volunteering assignments that positively impact our local community.

3. MAKE CHALLENGING NORMS, THE NORM

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt about real estate, it’s that change and innovation are guaranteed and so we must constantly adapt and consider new ways of doing things.

Embedding this behaviour – of challenging established practices and norms – in your team culture is central to delivering excellent service now and in the future.

The reality of the context we are operating in is that customers (be it in real estate or in other industries) notice what is exceptionally good and what is exceptionally poor – meaning that when we deliver a service somewhere in between the great and the bad, it doesn’t resonate, it’s not memorable and it won’t help you to create advocates for your organisation. In other words, it is never enough to just be not bad – our culture must drive us to challenge the status quo and, in doing so, deliver exceptional service to our customers. And that, friends, is what a winning team is able to consistently deliver.

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