For entrepreneurs, the topic of culture is often relegated to the bottom of the priority list. Hey, shouldn’t there be a focus on the product, hiring the right people and getting enough funding?

That’s true. But culture is something that is critical for the long-term success of a company. If anything, it is the DNA that helps guide everyone. After all, Mark Zuckerberg often talks about his mission – to make a more connected world – that is essentially a reflection of his company’s culture.

Oh, and then there is Google. During the early days, the company set a mission to organize the world’s information.

OK then, what are some of the steps you can take when it comes to your company’s culture? What are the best-practices to keep in mind?

Well, to get some insight on this, I recently talked to Greg Besner, who is the founder and CEO of CultureIQ. The company, which has raised $5.25 million, operates a cloud platform to help companies strengthen their culture.

"Culture is how things get done in a company,” said Greg. “While it definitely is guided by formal policies, it’s also everything in between. It’s how employees communicate on and offline, it’s how you recognize and reward each other, it’s how you sit together in the office. The list goes on and on. Entrepreneurs typically set out to solve a problem. Your company culture is how employees in your company will work together to accomplish that goal.”

Interestingly enough, he got the idea for CultureIQ from his experience as an advisor and early investor in “I watched the company grow from about 70 employees in 2003 to thousands of employees at the time of its sale to Amazon in 2009,” said Greg. “It was inspiring to see how the company applied culture not as an afterthought, but as a business strategy. Employees were inspired, satisfied and engaged, and as a result the company delivered excellent customer service and built an incredible brand as a result.”

But when it comes to culture, it’s really important that the CEO sets the tone. Let’s face it, the team will certainly take note – and follow the examples put forth. “One of the best things you can do as a leader in your organization is to be intentional about your actions and reactions, and ask yourself: ‘Is this a behavior I want others in this company to repeat over time?’”

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