You often hear about the idea of a “culture” within a company. It’s something that everyone, from owners and executives down to entry-level employees, all feel, but no one really talks about. I know you talk about it, but most don’t. Simply put, you know when the culture of your company is bad, because the best employees will tend to leave, or even worse, lie low and lose motivation.
The flip side, are those organizations that say they have a great culture, they preach about a great culture and yet the relations you have with them tells otherwise. We both know this isn’t your company, it’s ‘them’.
In today’s turbulent business environment, every company must have the ability to change and adapt quickly if it hopes to survive or maintain its success. Companies must drive results and respond to customer needs faster than ever before, and a poor culture can severely limit their ability to do so.
So what effects can culture have on a business, and what signs should be monitored to know if a culture is hindering business operations?
Here are some signs of cultural problems that you should look out for:
- Managers who don’t lead, teach, train, mentor – yet claim great success developing employees.
- Weak internal support staff, which can drastically dampen an employee’s motivation.
- Overuse of titles rather than focusing on responsibilities and accountability.
- Hierarchical styles with a lot of micro-management, which limits individual creativity.
- Inconsistent disciplinary sanctions, or inappropriate disciplinary action.
- Favoritism or nepotism within departments.
- “Open door cultures” that aren’t truly open door.
Those are just a few symptoms of a larger cultural problem that must be addressed for an organization to fulfill its potential for success.
It’s important to note that a culture can hinder any process, which in turn limits production. The culture of an organization can also manifest itself in a wide variety of ways. What an employer might think is a simple behavioral issue could actually be a symptom of a larger cultural problem at the company.
It’s also important to be aware that when you begin an examination into the culture of your company, things can get very personal very quickly. This is especially true of the major issues within the culture come from upper management or ownership. When you decide that change is necessary, you must address the conflict wherever it is, in every department and at every level.
However, most importantly of all, a successful cultural shift is worth all of the difficulties and challenges you will have to overcome throughout the process. Overhauling the culture of your organization can help you find that motivation and passion inside of you for your business that you thought was long gone. There is no greater rekindling of the fire within, than fueling a great culture for those whom you rely on to grow your business. Hey – and you may regain your spark too!
Is your company’s culture positive or negative? What signs lead you to think this way?
Thomas von Ahn | Chief Elephant Slayer | Viral Solutions LLC