A recent article from the Harvard Business Review discussed the importance of corporate culture and how culture drives corporate success. Although an organization can experience periodic success without a healthy culture, it is nearly impossible to sustain long-term success.
If you are in business, you have a culture. Some cultures are intentionally formed, but most simply evolve over time without thought. The important question you need to consider is, “is my culture healthy or toxic?”
Does your culture empower your organization and team to succeed with a single-minded purpose that has a clearly defined WHY or in other words, a core focus? Does your company provide a platform for growth and advancement? Do your employees look forward to coming to work? Are the stress levels so high that your employees feel dis-empowered? Is your turnover rate exceedingly high? These are some of the key indicators to consider when determining the health of your company’s culture.
Culture is defined by the values, attitudes, behaviors, beliefs and language of an organization. A healthy corporate culture requires intentional action. Most cultures randomly develop over time without intent. It is very difficult to change a toxic culture. Here are some steps to consider:
1. Start by defining your values and what you stand for. Hire based on alignment with your core values first and skills second.
2. Define your core focus and make sure everyone knows what it is, not in a manual or on some white board. Each employee needs to own your core focus.
3. Your company needs to be congruent with words and actions towards your core values? Another words, do you act with integrity? Remember what we don’t confront, we validate!
4. Have clearly defined goals. Each team member needs to know what his or her role and responsibilities are to reach each goal.
5. Set reasonable expectations and review regularly.
6. Establish trust through communication. Transparency and authenticity are rewarded by loyalty.
7. Praise, praise, praise! Employees want to know that you care and are paying attention. Employees will care when they know that you care.
These are just a few of the important steps you can begin to take to turn your culture around. It is not easy, but success never is. Be patient in the process. It can take a couple years to totally get this right. Don’t be surprised when you begin the process of changing your culture that you start to identify people who are no longer a good fit with your company. That’s ok! Why would you want people who don’t resonate with your values or core focus?
The most important asset you have as a company is your people. Invest in them and they will reward you back 10x over.
It is important to keep in mind that how you treat your employees is how your employees treat your clients.
This culture thing is too important to ignore any longer. If you want to compete in today’s highly competitive job market and experience tremendous success, it is time to put a plan in place to get your culture right.