Company A and Company B both spend thousands of dollars on planning new initiatives and rolling out marketing campaigns to drive their businesses forward. Company A’s results are dismal and Company B’s are a roaring success.
Why are some companies more successful than others?
There are many reasons for performance variance, but it is increasingly clear that a major component is their corporate culture.
Corporate culture is often described as the invisible side of the organisation, or the atmosphere of an organisation. Kennedy and Deal describe it as the perception of “The way things get done around here” .
Ravasi and Schultz (2006) say that organizational culture is a set of shared assumptions that guide what happens in organizations by defining appropriate behavior for various situations. It is also the pattern of such collective behaviors and assumptions that are taught to new organizational members as a way of perceiving and, even, thinking and feeling.
Following on from this definition and looking closer to home, what defines the behaviour in your own business? What kind of behaviour is taught to new members entering your business?
If you are the boss, then the buck stops with you! In Tom Peters’ book In search of Excellence he says that changing a culture boils down to the “100 little things” that take place in a day. Everything we do as leaders communicates a message. If we are to change a culture, we must become acutely aware of what we do and the message it communicates. We must get off of autopilot.
To understand what your companies current culture is, look out for the following:
- What gets attention in the business? Is there a common thread of what gets attention and what get’s sidelined?
- Take notice of people’s behaviour. How do your employees conduct themselves around fellow colleagues and visitors? What are the dominant management or leadership styles?
- What are the hero stories? What do your employees talk about? What behaviour, values and actions are seen as important? Remember, there are company values and then there is reality. Don’t be blindsided by what things should look like, but look at what is the reality.
- Employee turnover figures. What are your exit interviews telling you or should I say not telling you? What are the common threads running through the feedback?
- Employee satisfaction surveys. Does your business do them? If not, how do you know how your employees are feeling about working for your business?
- AAR – After Action Reviews. Is reflection time encouraged and set aside everyday? Are behaviour, actions and decisions made in line with the company values and desired corporate culture?