Whip Your Company Culture Into Shape

Sarah Malcolm
Either let something happen or get off your butt and do something about it. That attitude applies to how you live your life and your company culture. Some people have this idea that company culture is what it is, but that’s not true. Feed it drama and it’ll breed drama. Feed it positivity and respect, and your employees will treat others with respect.

Either let something happen or get off your butt and do something about it. That attitude applies to how you live your life and your company culture. Some people have this idea that company culture is what it is, but that’s not true. Feed it drama and it’ll breed drama. Feed it positivity and respect, and your employees will treat others with respect.

Around 63% of CEOs believe culture is vital to their company's performance and success, but just 11% say they are satisfied with the strength of their organizational culture. Why the disconnect? 

If you're seeing the symptoms of a company culture that's out of shape, don’t accept it as the status quo. Doing nothing is not acceptable.

Changing existing habits is definitely a challenging transformation. It's going to require a new way of thinking and operating from every person inside your company. The changes may mean focusing a little less on business efficiency.

So, what's the first step to losing the bad parts of your company culture?

I like these three questions posed by Joe Galvin:

1. Are we attracting people or driving them away?

2. Am I leading by example?

3. Are employees motivated or just going through the motions?

Realistic awareness

If you say you're eating healthy, but you’re slathering your salad with ranch dressing and fried chicken, are you really being healthy? To change, you need to be real about what is happening.

The first question Joe asks is all about awareness. It’s figuring out what your existing company culture is. Compare to the end goal to see what needs tweaking. 

Example: if you say you're open and inclusive, what does your board of directors look like? What is your leadership team look like? What's the diversity among your staff?

Start at the top

Changing how the company operates starts by example. If you say you want a more transparent company, what can you do as a leader that makes your daily actions more transparent?  

I think of the example of former Japan Airlines CEO Haruka Nishimatsu. He removed the walls from his office.He works on the same floor as all the other employees. When the airline struggled, he cut his salary, at one point as low as $90,000. Think about what other big-brand leading CEOs make.

We’re all in one boat

You also can't really change company culture if you don't have buy-in. This is where question number three comes in. People have to believe in their hearts that you really do want to create a strong, thriving company culture.  This idea of “this is the way things have always been done” can really get in the way of modifying company culture. Some people are very resistant to change until they can see real progress. Those late adopters eventually get on board or go somewhere else.

Make the change

You can change company culture. It might take longer than you would like, and it will probably be harder than you think, but it can be done. The payoff will be employees who are proud to work for your brand and a strong community reputation as a company that cares about its people.

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