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Is Business Culture Really That Important?

I was asked to present at the Chief Executive Officers’ (CEO) Club – Presidential Advisory Council – Boston Chapter, on Leadership. They inquired as to what specific topics would provide the greatest value. I provided the top requested subjects below (in no particular order):

  1. Crisis Management: Are You Prepared for the Inevitable?
  2. What Makes a Great Leader?
  3. Is Business Culture Really That Important?
  4. Pushing the Envelope with Smarter Decisions and Better Precision.
  5. What Do You “Really” Want?
  6. When Executives Don’t Play Nice in the Sandbox.

The Chairman of the CEO Club decided on, “Is Business Culture Really That Important?”. What follows is the overview of my presentation.

A healthy culture is no longer an option — it is an urgent need and it must start at the top level of organizations. Approaching employee involvement as a business strategy, yields clear and improved results.

WHAT IS COMPANY CULTURE?  It is the “heart-beat” of an organization. It encompasses the values, vision, beliefs, methods and habits of an organization.

There are clear benefits to having a strong, unified company culture. Organizations with engaged, happier personnel, outperform their competition; it’s a competitive advantage. A robust culture elevates retention and increases the probability of higher-quality referral hires. It supports healthy employees (physically and emotionally) which reduces absenteeism and tardiness. Additionally, it accelerates productivity, profitability, and organic growth. Employees tend to be more attuned to the needs of the business and their customers. They are more observant of processes, standards and systems which provides for a greater commitment to quality and safety. It also increases the organizations brand value.

In the Chairman’s Blog, dated: Jun 13, 2017, titled: The World’s Broken Workplace by Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO at Gallup states, “the practice of management has been frozen in time for more than 30 years.” Today’s workforce, especially millennials, want to work for companies that help them grow and develop while having meaningful work with flexibility to do it. According to Gallup’s World Poll, “many people in the world hate their job and especially their boss.” “Only 15% of the world’s one billion full-time workers are engaged at work. It is significantly better in the U.S., at around 30% engaged, but this still means that roughly 70% of American workers aren’t engaged.” We need to transform our workplace cultures for better results.

Multiple triggers can cause low engagement, under performance and retention problems, and it’s often hard to diagnose exactly why people are not working optimally. Stress and anxiety in the workplace and the negative effects they have on motivation, engagement and performance has heightened significantly over the years.

Organizations have more success with engagement and improve business performance when they treat employees as stakeholders of their own future, and the company’s future. This means focusing on highly effective regular communication. While positive feelings, such as happiness, are usually byproducts of healthy engagement, they shouldn’t be confused with the principal outcomes. Rather, the primary emphasis should be on elements that engage workers and drive results. Such as clarity of expectations, the opportunity to do what they do best and consistently promoting genuine coworker relations.

As a senior leader, how do you go about making sure your employees are engaged? What sets your company apart? There is no one-size-fits-all “correct” company culture—every business is different. Take time to identify and highlight what makes your company unique. Then, decide how to regularly convey the new and improved culture. Remember to model the behavior both in everyday practices as well as from a strategic long-term planning perspective.

About the Author:

Nancy Capistran of Capistran Leadership is an internationally certified executive coach and trusted advisor for closely held, mid-market companies. Nancy has a temperament that promotes extraordinary results by deepening her clients’ knowledge, improving performance, and enhancing their quality of life and overall success. Her focus and multi-dimensional perspective, combined with a wide variety of techniques, assists her clients in successfully navigating timely transformational shifts. Nancy is also sought after as an inspirational speaker to accelerate the success for ambitious business leaders. Publications like the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), live business radio, and podcasts have interviewed her on a variety of occasions and topics. She also continues to earn professional achievements and accolades. She can be reached at Nancy@capistranleadership.com.

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