Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Best Indicator of a Great Corporate Culture

Corporate Culture has been a hot topic in business for many years.  One of the reasons may be because it gets talked about a lot.  This may not be a good sign.  In the article below, some of the reasons why corporate culture is talked about so much are explained and some solutions are suggested.

There is a corporate culture/leadership crisis due to an inherent tendency to promote managers to leadership positions without natural talent and/or training.  Managers get things done and we like these types of people.  They are more direct, authoritative and task oriented.  They also tend to be the loudest people in the room.  Because they get results and are louder than others, they have a tendency to get promoted.  As they rise in the organization and are no longer individual contributors, their amazing ability to get things done themselves does not necessarily translate into getting things done with others.  They can tend to micro-manage and irritate the very people they need to get things done.  This can lead to lower performance and employee turnover.  Managers tend to be more naturally gifted in strategy and tactics and not at creating a transcendent purpose and culture.  The leader has a laser-focused need to create inspiration for a purpose, vision, culture (values and behaviors), etc.  Awareness of this fact needs to lead companies to really understand the difference between, managers, coaches and leaders and not group all of them together or only select one category for all positions.  This will help tremendously to create more balanced and effective companies.

There is no real understanding of what corporate culture is and therefore it becomes a catch-all word for the problems and solutions for companies.  Culture is at its core the mindsets (values) and observable behaviors of the leaders (especially) and the people in companies.  This simple definition helps put everyone on the same page, and this is very important.  Culture is not a scary, vague, mysterious thing that cannot be diagnosed and worked on.  Something as simple as a smile with teeth can define your culture.  So there needs to be a simple definition (like the one suggested) and then a focus on making the values and daily behaviors a focus on becoming culture-driven leaders and companies.  Leaders by their very definition should be culture-driven and start all their activities by thinking about the people and culture.  By understanding and not being so scared about culture, companies can start to focus on the values and specific behaviors they want to see in their people. 

Mindsets and behaviors can be hard to change in adults.  Changing fixed mindsets and behaviors of sometimes stubborn managers to get them to think more like leaders can be very difficult.  The mentality that what it took to get promoted is the same as what will be necessary to be successful in the new role often leads people to not want or be able to change.  The ability to change mindsets and behaviors is extremely necessary to work on culture.  Work on making sure that your managers are open to change their mindsets and behaviors before they become or in order to become leaders. 

Too many managers, a misunderstanding of what corporate culture really is and the difficulty of changing mindsets and behaviors in adults makes working on culture a challenge.  This is what culture consultants specialize in and work with companies on every day.  Great corporate cultures are tremendously beneficial for the people and results and should be something every company should be striving to have.  The obstacles above are not as difficult as the reward.  Start working on making sure as the quote above says that your culture is so good you do not have to talk about it.