From the Top - The Boss's Beliefs (Capturing Culture - Part 2)

Everything related to culture, is connected to leadership. Their beliefs and their decisions, it's all going to have a profound affect on employees' attitudes, behavior, and drive. And that influence, is why I recommend starting with this group as you begin to define or build your culture.

So what do you need from leadership, in order to understand your culture? You need their honest position on 4 main areas...

  • Work Environment - Competitive vs. Cooperative
  • Decision Making - Consensus vs. Leadership
  • Focus - Short Term Goals Vs. Long Term Goals
  • Definition of Success - Increasing Customer Satisfaction vs. Increasing Profits

These 4 categories are going to set the tone of the company and influence every decision an employee makes. Now it's important to note, despite having 2 options (competitive vs. cooperative), leadership doesn't always have to be for one and against the other. It's just about realizing leadership's tendencies when a situation needs a decision between the two position. Here are a few examples to give you the full picture.

  • A co-worker is struggling to reach his/her sales goal this month - will I be rewarded for taking the time and offering advice or breaking my monthly sales record?
  • I'm managing a marketing team and we wants to implement an affordable emailing software - do I purchase it or wait for leadership's approval?
  • I'm the C.F.O of a start-up - do I suggest going public for the immediate cash injection or will this upset the C.E.O because he/she doesn't want to give up some percentage of ownership and compromise on decisions with a board down the road?
  • I have the authority to change the packaging, which reduces cost by 5%, but increases damaged goods by 1% - do I approve the change?

Understanding leadership's stance on each topic, is going to allow the individual to make his/her decisions quickly, which saves everyone time (and time always equals money). But that's the easy part. The hard part is, building a culture around these choices.

You see, any misalignment between employee and task, and the company pays for it. The reality is, employee morale is very much tied up to the actions he/she takes at work. If an individual is working on a task that they don't agree with, their productivity drops and dissatisfaction rises - and that's contagious (very deadly).

The good news is, there's a vaccine. By hiring individuals who value your leaderships' core beliefs, you're going to get a more fulfilled and happy staff. And a happy staff is a productive staff. (To discover how to hire someone that will thrive inside your culture, I suggest staying up-to-date on my blog for insightful tips and tools.)

Now if you are the boss, and you're about to define / build your culture, I want to reiterate how absolutely important it is to answer these questions honestly. It's great to say you're all about consensus decisions, but if you don't actually listen to the collective voice, it doesn't mean shit - your culture will crumble because of the misalignment. Don't just talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.

Bonus - Culture Committee

I recommend assembling a small group of co-workers, containing leadership (should be CEO), mid-level staff and entry level employees. It's pivotal to collect voices from different ranks at the firm; that's the only way you're going to truly understand the culture. Additionally, and this is a personal opinion, these meetings should be part of an open discussion with no repercussions. Because, to be effective, you need a dialog, and that can't happen if an entry level person is afraid to call BS on the boss.

My final tip on the culture committee - don't let it be a one time assignment. As you'll discover, culture is always changing. I know, the main idea here is to build around a singular culture, but as a business grows, it inherently changes. Have these meetings every quarter or bi-annually to see what's shifting, what's working, and what future actions need to be taken on.

Suggested Follow-ups:

Article By: Tom Kieley

About the Author

Tom is the creator of Fulfillingly. He absolutely enjoys giving people the tips and tools they need to find a satisfying career or dependable employee. Tom does
this by combining years of experience with incredible outside sources.

Twitter  Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment