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May 7, 2024

Are You the Creator of Your Company’s Culture – or a Hostage to It?

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CEOs tell us all the time that they think about their company culture a lot – but many of them feel little power to create or influence it. They lament about not knowing what to do (or not do) to change things, which makes many of them unwilling to try.

If culture is the embodiment of your company’s beliefs, values, and ethics, as represented by the actions of each employee, then you must look at and measure those actions. As the saying goes: You’ll know how well you raised your kids by how they act when you’re not there. This is very similar to your company culture. How do your employees act when no one is watching? An “employee” could mean anyone who works for your company: owners, executives, managers, salespeople, technicians, programmers, procurement specialists, etc.

The Makeup of a Health Company Culture

In terms of culture, all employees are included and affected – no one is exempt. So how do you build a healthy, sustainable culture, and what key items must you have?

  • A set of aligned and communicated values, ethics, and behaviors
  • Visible examples of these values, ethics, and behaviors in action (at all levels)
  • Visible acknowledgement of people who align their actions with these values, ethics, and behaviors
  • Intolerance/admonishment of people who do not align their actions with these values, ethics, and behaviors

The Results You Can Expect

What results come from proactively putting these actions in place?

Many company cultures are held hostage by a few “special” people who think the rules don’t apply to them – or pretend they haven’t noticed that there are rules. It’s worse if they’ve never been told that the rules actually do apply to them. In the meantime, the rest of the company watches how management “manages” (or “enables”) these people. If they’re allowed to get away with it, why should anyone else care? Putting these actions into place may result in your company losing these people – especially those consistently not in alignment.

On the flip side, though – before you know it – people in alignment with your values, ethics, and behaviors will perform better and become more passionate about and committed to their work.

Ready to proactively manage your culture instead of being held hostage by it? Questions? We’d love to answer them. Contact NSCA Member Advisory Councilmember Navigate Management Consulting at answers@navigatemc.com. –Brad Malone, Navigate Management Consulting

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