3 Mistakes When Setting Your Sights on Company Culture

Passion March 1, 2018

3 Mistakes When Setting Your Sights on Company Culture

Jason Richmond
Jason is passionate about helping large companies embrace outstanding culture. He engages with clients by sharing his passion for learning and instilling a sense of leadership and confidence with everyone.

By now you’re likely feeling overexposed to the term “culture.” Sure enough, it’s mentioned in every board meeting, displayed on banners at conventions and every other article online is arguing its importance.

And frankly, you won’t hear me slowing down about it any time soon, either.

Most of the time, however, everyone jumps to discussing the must have building blocks—but what about the mistakes and must not’s? Just as important to the creation and longevity of organizational culture is what NOT to do to avoid a toxic culture.

Undervaluing the Advantage of Culture

Kerrian Fournier, seasoned Human Resources professional, has been on both sides of the culture coin long enough to know that poor behavior and missteps in culture can be just as detrimental as the actual foundational actions.

Still, to this day it surprises her how so few CEO’s actually consider their culture to be a major advantage in business, “Companies don’t understand the true competitive edge that actively managing culture can give them.” To her point, there’s something to be said about a company that has grasped and perfected their organizational culture to a point that allows the customers to freely witness and experience the values of the company. The result of happy employees living and breathing the culture tends to be exceptional customer service, leading to loyalty from the consumer that is difficult to sway.

Ignoring Toxicity

And what about the boardroom bullies? While often these can be amongst the top performers, a toxic person in a shared workspace can cause major troubles for the morale of the overall team.

“When push comes to shove, those in the C-Suite positions have to be willing to do the difficult thing and get rid of the person that is counter to the culture. It doesn’t matter how productive that one individual is, their behavior will inevitably result in the majority of the team being less innovative and effective in the long run.”

Not Defining Your Vision

Whether you’re a new company deciding on your values in phase one—or a seasoned CEO taking the steps to ignite a culture shift for the first time—nothing is more important than doing so with a defined vision in mind. Without a crystal clear idea of what your values are—or the type of environment, you are trying to form—it’s likely your messaging will also be complicated and muddled.

Especially for employees settled into a longstanding routine, the ability to clearly explain the reason for the culture change—or creation in the first place—is fundamental to helping them get on board.

Fournier reminds us that you have to reach employees in ways that they can hear it so the value is driven home for them. How does it impact them? What are the changes they can expect? And most importantly, how is this shift in culture going to create an environment that will yield more productivity and growth for not just the company—but each individual, as well.