We saw it growing year after year, approximately from the 1980s, until it nurtured to become a real managerial issue:
Your organization’s culture is directly linked to your business success or failure.
As former Campbell Soup' President and CEO Douglas Conant remarked, “Culture refers to the values and attitudes of employees in the business or organization. In a business with an unhealthy culture, employees act as individuals, performing their duties to meet their own needs, such as a paycheck or health benefits”, on the other hand, “a healthy corporate culture values each employee in the organization regardless of their job duties, which results in employees working as a team to meet the company’s and their own personal needs. Healthy corporate culture improves the performance of a business in a number of areas.”
We all worked in turns in unhealthy (often the majority) and healthy (much too rare) organizations, and from experience we know the difference:
Even after leaving the healthy company for many years, we still remember it fondly, and we feel that we still belong to it; while the unhealthy one is no more than a line in our Resume (CV) and we want nothing to do with it.
As we mentioned in various occasions, anyone – from top executives to rank & file – will perform better and will have no problem walking the extra mile if they work in a positive environment.
And fun; let’s not forget that a fun environment is a good and healthy environment!
In a positive organization, where everyone is recognized and saluted as an individual and not as a mere employee, the salary package (as long as it is fair and within the industry benchmarks) is not anymore the key – and in most occasions the only – real link between the company and its workforce.
In such a valued and celebrating environment, what matters is the ‘working and winning together’ attitude shared by everyone.
A total change of paradigm.
It astonishes me to note that most organizations shoot their own foot by often deliberately developing a negative culture – direct heritage from the Western world 19th century (read Charles Dickens or Victor Hugo again) -, and do not (cannot?) acknowledge that times have changed and in the 21st century you are expected to deal with your workforce differently, as they do not accept even a fraction of what was considered normal even in the early 20th century, when paternalism was the rule.
Can’t they look around and understand they live in a different era?
Can’t they see that even what baby-boomers may accept is not even considered by Generations X and Y?
Generation Gap is not only a theory. It is a fact.
We discussed this issue before, but let’s go down that road again.
Let’s look at three ways to help your company succeed by implementing a positive corporate culture.
You’ve got it by now:
All start with the way you deal with your employees.
If you've got a healthy business culture, it is going to have a positive effect how efficiently your workforce gets their work done.
For instance, did you know that Netflix has a ‘No Holiday’ policy?
It doesn’t mean that employees are not allowed to take holidays.
It means that they can take as many holiday as they want, whenever they want.
What counts is not how many holidays they take, or how many hours they work per day, or how many days per week.
What counts is how efficient they are: do they achieve their target? Do they deliver on time?
Efficiency matters; not hours spent behind a desk… or at the coffee machine!
Communication and sharing information are also important to a positive culture.
Many managers see information as power, and therefore neglect to inform their teams of decisions, policies, what have you; giving themselves a sense of importance:
Nothing can be done without these managers because they know.
Of course, this is a wrong attitude.
Empowerment is the proper managerial style – giving the workforce the knowledge and power necessary to achieve their tasks – hence demonstrating that the organization trusts them and treats them as knowledgeable adults and do not infantilize them, as it is usually the norm.
Ensure that you listen.
Listen to your customers, suppliers, and above all to your colleagues.
You need to listen, know and understand them, all of them, if you want your business to thrive.
Knowing is succeeding.
Believing that you know is failing.
Who else than those in direct contact with your clients and contractors can give you the right information?
To be able to achieve this high level of communication, you need to have implemented first an open communication channel between you and your teams.
Don’t be like those so-called ‘leaders’ who live surrounded by a court that tells them only what they want to hear, and not the truth.
The truth might hurt at times, but it is necessary to succeed.
What’s more, by actually listening to your teams you will develop a unique relationship which overtime – and in particular during bad times – can prove to be invaluable.
Every company has it mission and vision posted somewhere, and also on their Web site – like if their customers care!
Mission and vision ignored by all after the all exciting initial launch period!
The mission statement also belongs to the past, even if many will tell you it is mandatory.
What is necessary is your company’s vision.
What is its short term vision (beside being the usual ‘best company in its industry’ as you read almost everywhere!)?
And also what are the mid- and long-term visions?
In other words, what is your business reason of being?
Why you and not your competitors?
Why should they work for / with you?
Why should your customers buy from you?
Give to your workforce a reason to get up every morning and go fight for you.
Share your vision, and make sure that everyone not only understands it, but believes in it.
If you can have them believe in it, you can be assured that your business will not only be a success, but will flourish.
As long as your workforce, in its majority, believes in your vision you will prosper.
The day they will stop believing, your company will start going down.
Are those three steps easy to design and implement?
Of course not – being negative is always easier than being positive!
Should you start working towards those goals?
If you want your business to succeed for a very long time, I would advise you to seriously consider it!
What kind of culture is currently implemented in your company?