Company Culture – Important?

Posted on March 02, 2016 by snapdragonnh

What kind of organization do you want to build? Or transform? Do you want to encourage creativity, or establish a rigid routine? Should Associates feel comfortable collaborating throughout the organization, or would you prefer a “line organization” structure in which each Associate communicates exclusively through his immediate supervisor?

Your company’s success may be as much or more affected by internal Culture than the Market, your Competition, or any other influence. How your Associates view their environment often makes the single greatest impact affecting their performance.

Company Cultures may take as many different forms as do personalities among individuals. There is not a right and a wrong as much as there is an “Effective” vs. “Ineffective” for a specific business. One thing Company Cultures have in common is that they are established at the top, and filter down. The Owner, Chairman, CEO, or General Manager has the authority and the responsibility to mold the culture of the company such that it operates optimally within its particular environment.

In the Military, a culture based on a loose organizational structure wouldn’t get the job done. An order is an order and the uniform is the uniform. By the same token, software developers may be better served by encouraging creativity and a relatively loose structure by comparison. Two vast extremes, but the point is that different disciplines, different personalities, and different task requirements benefit from a “tailored” culture.

Now for the fun part...  Team Building.   The more the associates feel connected to their company, the more effective their output. For example, in the elite military, the “unit” is the thing, and each team member is trained to consider the “unit” above “self”. Perhaps this is a little extreme for civilian business culture, but the point is made.

So here are some suggestions from which I would suggest you give careful consideration, and if possible, design into your Company Culture:

  • SAFETY. Everyone goes home to his family in the same condition he arrived. (it expresses deep concern for Associates, and pays huge dividends –see prior post)
  • OPEN DOORS. (Closed doors make folks uneasy)
  • ENCOURAGE TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION. (they realize their input is important)
  • HONEST AND FAIR TREATMENT. (for example: Everyone knows benefits are getting more expensive and are becoming a more difficult burden on businesses, but make sure your Associates are in the communication loop with regard to changes which may affect their paychecks. Be proactive and “Sell” the change. You can be sure that if you are not talking about it in public, they will be grumbling about it in private)
  • PROMOTE FROM WITHIN, WHERE POSSIBLE. (upward mobility is a major motivator)

So, in pure business terms, the bottom line is that in my experience, the people who work for your company are vastly more involved, caring, and productive when they have a sense they are valued.  They will self-police the workforce and help weed out bad-apples, they will look after the company’s assets as if they were their own, AND THEY WILL STAY…

by Geoff Keifer, VP – Consulting