Company culture. What is it?
A culture is defined as a recognized set of principles, beliefs, shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterize a group, population, tribe, community or company. It’s groups of individuals coming together for a common goal.
In the corporate setting, culture is the compilation of what your workforce has in common, believes, and how they act or react within your organization to provide the energy needed to move forward.
Every company culture is unique, a makeup of the various personalities of company leadership, middle management, and external factors. This culture exists to support the company vision. When a culture is tuned properly it can maneuver between business realities and goals, while still maintaining a high degree of support for the vision.
Drive your company vision from the top down
Company culture starts at the top and works its way down. The personality of the “boss” influences everybody in the organization either directly or indirectly. Is the boss tough, fair, open-minded, driven, friendly, cold, isolated or connected to the team? If you’re a boss to whom others report, consistency can be your best ally.
Most employees don’t work directly with the leadership, however, which brings into discussion middle management. Middle managers are in a very particular spot. They respond to just as many responsibilities above them as they do below them. Based on their temperament, they can act as bridges or ladders for people to advance, or they can be insulated and distant, becoming more conduit-like than motivational. The most successful cultures support the corporate vision, which include a strong middle-management force that can articulate policy and provide rationale. Because everyone from top to bottom is on the same page, the corporate outlook is strong.
Discourage politics, which serve the individual
Politics undermine corporate goals. By nature, they must, because politics serve the individual rather than the team. The goal of politics is to get ahead of others while avoiding getting hurt in the process. Strong political climates can therefore undermine a robust and positive company culture, which again profligates that single company vision.
Respond to external drivers as a team with a vision
Culture is as susceptible to external factors as the company is. These include market dynamics, the economy, competitor influences, and technical advances. When a product doesn’t do well, it can be tempting to point fingers. Now we’re back to politics.
"A culturally strong company may respond to a competitor by developing an even better product."
The strongest cultures, in fact, respond to external threats together. The leaders rally their troops to more than withstand external factors. They generate internal positive energy toward overcoming the setback. A culturally strong company may respond to a competitor threat, for instance, by developing an even better product.
Nurture the positive habits as they form, so they thrive
Remember this one? It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.
It’s critical for your teams to understand the company vision and their roles in it, collectively and individually. Individuals must have one voice, while working as a team and individually. The key to nurturing the culture you want lies in how you impart information. A group of individuals that see one goal, seek one ideal, and share one corporate voice can drive an organization to change, improve, and excel.
Finally, create good habits. Habits fuel a daily ritual with energy. This begets confidence and personal desires, and appreciation for how the success of these habits helps change your team’s individual achievements and the team as a whole. As business goals become business realities, your team gains confidence. The culture is validated, and business goals become realities.