Creating Harmonious Chaos

April 16, 2009

From Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO at NYCA.


10 Tips for creating a culture that fosters the corporate spirit of harmonious chaos, inspires great work and a better world. Any successful business owner will tell you that staff will make or break a company. Turnover is not only expensive, but also can be devastating to morale and work quality, taking away from other resources to find, train and indoctrinate new employees.

nyca_flowers_1In order to succeed, business owners have to focus a large percentage of their time (at least 25 percent) to creating a culture with a goal: harmonious chaos.

Working at a growing and entrepreneurial company is demanding work. The hours are long and chaos is part of the deal. Keeping employees happy and energized to return the next day, helping your business grow, is critical.

Your team needs a guide on how to succeed and how to create a “culture club” of their own within the company. The guide should contain reminders of what employees already know on how to think and behave and grow the businesses and the community.

The guide can also include activities, events and symbols to foster this club of culture. Everything from golf outings to personalized watering cans for each employee to remind them that they are growers – Planting a grove of trees representing client growth and art classes- these are all ideas to foster a culture that will spur energy and ideas.

In a nutshell, 10 things any company can do to create a better culture to grow better work are:

1. State in writing what the organization is about – clarity is key and find only people who love the vision and repeat it all the time.

2. Take care of the basics – insurance, comfortable chairs, good lighting – sounds simple but it works! Allow employees to make their space personal, have food around – healthy and unhealthy.

3. Listen carefully – no, really carefully to the employees – have some feelers out and people who will tell you what you don’t want to hear because it is good for you – and respond.

4. Celebrate when it goes right. Give spot bonuses – Starbucks coffee cards, afternoon off, flowers, parking spaces, you name it.

5. Tell the truth – allow criticism, say you’re sorry – be a human place. Always celebrate the victories – and be honest about the errors.

6. Be who you are. Don’t be silly thinking it will get you what you want if you’re not silly – it won’t take you where you want to be unless it fits.

7. Work is personal – people spend a lot (sometimes almost all) their time there – when you hire someone, make sure you see the person as an individual and how they fit in the team.

8. Families – you don’t just hire the employee — you bring the family into your extended family.fruit-from-our-clients-tree

9. Have a mission, a cause that is bigger than your P/L that they can sign up for.

10. Create a culture club – put people in responsible positions.

11. Understand who your employees are – they are not like you. They may be younger, older, from another country, even planet (if you’re lucky) – be in touch. Give them the goals and the environment and they will do the rest.


OK, so being on the creative side, that’s 12 tips instead of 10. The end result of these tips is to increase the creativity quotient within company walls – the quotient must go up to solve serious problems and move to the next level. Creating a culture club can steer the work to fulfill promises for all involved.