No matter the day, here are 3 myth busting tips to keep you from wrong thinking when it comes to culture
Culture is just a soft fuzzy concept that doesn’t exist in the real world.
Culture may be intangible, but it’s real. Culture is shaped by the behaviours and values of the leaders of the organization. Just spend a week observing the behaviours of the C suite and see how it’s influencing how work gets done. A leader who lacks vision and doesn’t communicate with his employees will generate confusion in the workplace. A leader who recognizes the efforts of others on a daily basis will create motivation and increase productivity. Or how about the leader who is so focused on cost cutting that they refuse to implement new technologies, leaving their employees in antiquated and non scalable systems? These are the leaders who often wonder why there is a lack of innovation amongst employees.
You can’t change culture, it just is.
If the culture of an organization is the result of leadership behaviours, then culture can be changed by adjusting behaviour. Behaviours are the result of people’s values and beliefs. If I believe that everyone is out to defraud my company, then I will build in lots of controls and oversight. However, if I then learn to trust my employees I am more likely to release some of the controls creating an environment of empowerment. Managing the behavioural performance of leaders throughout the organization is critical to building a sustainable and positive culture.
There’s no ROI in culture.
Leaders who want to maintain a competitive position in their industry need to understand the relationship between culture and their bottom line. There are direct costs of poor culture on productivity, leaving people standing around spending more time complaining about the organization than working in the organization. Or, the increased costs of employee turnover as employees leave for greener cultural pastures. However, the ROI on culture expands beyond employee engagement. It also applies to customer loyalty. West Jet has a brand promise that Owners Care and their culture supports it with a focus on customer service, empowerment, caring and fun. BP’s promise of being environmentally conscious didn’t align with a culture of cost cutting that impacted safety. Long before the spill in the Gulf, BP was faced with pipeline spills in Alaska and a refinery explosion in Texas. Customers saw through the misalignment of the culture and brand promise. BP lost 20 to 40% of revenues at the pump and fell from being the second largest oil company to number 4.
Thinking right about culture is the first step for leaders who want to maximize the potential of their organization. Do a quick assessment – is the culture and brand message of your organization congruent with its practices? Are you thinking wrong about your culture? Let’s celebrate Everything You Think is Wrong Day as your opportunity to get it right!