The holiday season brings chocolate covered pretzels, gift baskets and popcorn tins! It also means office gatherings which, for some offices, may be the only formal employee gathering throughout the year. In recognition of the holidays, Lovell Communications Inc. enjoyed a wonderful dinner and time of laughter and fellowship last week. Toward the end of our dinner, we each gave our personal thank you to the group for a year of quality work and meaningful results for our clients. Those kinds of impromptu moments set the tone and help define a strong organizational culture.

I am reminded of a presentation by Bob Higgins, CEO of Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, Inc., at The Executive Learning Network. Mr. Higgins spoke eloquently about corporate communications and how it is the thread that weaves a company together. As public relations professionals, we know this better than most.

As you enter into a new year, here are some tips to keep in mind as you cultivate and nurture your company’s culture:

  • A message sent does not always equal a message received. Try communicating through more than one mode, because the recipient is the one who assigns meaning to the message. With some folks, a telephone call might be preferred over an email.
  • We are all in business. Recognize that everyone around you is also working hard and making sacrifices. Metrics that reward employees and companies are sure to help keep everyone motivated.
  • With the new year comes new opportunities. Make sure everyone in the organization knows the company’s guiding principles and mission. Not every new business opportunity will be a perfect fit, so make sure you and your staff have the patience and the discernment to know what’s right for your organization.
  • Take time to teach and coach. This is incredibly important in both good and bad moments, especially if you’re the leader of an organization. Find ways to help your coworkers become stronger, and partner with coworkers who can teach you a thing or two. You’d be surprised how much you can learn!
  • My favorite part of the Higgins’ presentation was: know your purpose. We are all like pencils. The most important thing about you is on the inside. You’re equipped to correct mistakes, and you can’t do anything without being held up. Life has a way of making you go through an occasional sharpening, not to mention making you encounter multiple kinds of surfaces. Your job is to leave your mark!