Kitchen Kettle Village has been serving guests for over 60 years.
During those 60 years we’ve done our share of training. It’s an important aspect of any business if you want to meet or exceed consistent standards of quality, guest service and setting. So we train our team members to sanitize countertops, to keep displays shelves full of fresh product and to balance cash register drawers at the end of each day. It’s one of those necessary processes if you want to run a successful business.
Creating a corporate culture is distinctly different from training. It’s not quite so easy to teach or to have quantitative measurements that tell leadership how well the business is doing. Corporate culture is not what team members are taught to do, it’s how they choose to behave and maybe more importantly how they choose to behave when no one is looking.
Corporate culture is built on a foundation of a strong vision, mission and values for the organization. Values that everyone from the owners to the rest room attendants share. A vision that everyone understands and inspires them to want to “row the boat” in the same direction. And a mission that clearly states why the business is in existence – what it does to make a living. Then those foundations inspire behaviors in the people who work there to build a successful, productive and fun place to be every day.
Creating and sustaining corporate culture is not for the faint of heart. It takes strong intention, clear agreed upon paths to success, constant coaching and a zeal to bring out the best in each person who works in that business. The people who work at Kitchen Kettle are the key to the success of our business. They need to want to be here, to feel like they fit and to enjoy what they’re doing so they can make sure our guests do the same.
At Kitchen Kettle, we always end our new team member orientation with an invitation to work here. What we say is, “Compare us to a basketball team. We’ve shown you how we play the game, we’ve taught you many ways to score points, we’ve shown you our court and pointed out the boundaries, we’re telling you we intend to be the championship team in this basketball league and we’ve invited you to be on our team. If after all this introduction, you really prefer to play baseball, that’s great. Go find a baseball team. You’ll be happier and so will we. No worries, no harm done. It’s just that we’re playing basketball and you want to play baseball. We can’t get to the basketball championship with baseball players.” And then they decide if they want to play basketball and sign the invitation.
I don’t mean to take anything away from training employees on how to DO something that is important to a business. I just think being clear about who you are as a business, the behaviors you expect from people when they work there and the game your business is playing creates a culture that will inspire people to do their best which takes everyone to the championship game at the end of the season.