The most common question we hear about building a culture of WOW is “what are the first steps to take on this journey?” As a company walking on this path, we have six lessons that we’ve learned along the way:

Lesson 1

A company needs to live its values, starting at the top. Our CEO often says that his biggest responsibility is leading the team by example. Make sure your values are in the center of every decision you make, from the front receptionist to the CEO.

Lesson 2

Managers must set expectations and then hold each individual accountable for not only their work but the team’s overall goals. Truthful feedback from managers at every step helps employees feel like they are treated fairly and won’t be caught off guard.

Lesson 3

People want to do work that has meaning with a company where they can grow. Help them achieve that through clear career pathing, leadership plans, and 9-box guidance—all wrapped up in trust and respect.

Lesson 4

We often focus communication outward—toward the public, our customers, and prospects. But leaders need to over-communicate internally as well. Share where your business is headed with your team at each step. Take time to encourage—and then listen to—productive feedback from your team. A good leader is always looking for the best idea; make sure your team knows their ideas count.

Lesson 5

Let’s say it together: Your employees are adults. Expect them to handle truthful feedback. Be constructive, not critical; truthful, and kind; and share feedback in a timely manner. You don’t want employees to fear “the other shoe dropping.”

Lesson 6

Change should be treated with enthusiasm and excitement. Resting on your laurels, or always looking back, is not the path to success. With engaged employees, you’ll find that evolving your business becomes fun, not daunting.