The Importance of Culture in Growing Organizations
A major challenge for most growing organizations involves establishing a healthy and positive company culture. It is extremely difficult to get the entire organization on the same page — learn how to overcome this collaborative challenge with the tips below.
What is Company Culture?
Culture is defined as a recognized set of principles, beliefs, shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterize a group, population, tribe, organization, community or company. It’s your people and how they act inside your organization.
Every company culture is unique and is influenced by factors that include the personalities of the leadership, the amount of stress placed on the staff to succeed, the temperament of middle management, the role of politics and the influence of external factors on performance.
A company, corporate, or any organizational culture exists primarily to support the vision of the organization. They have to agree with vision and at the same time have the ability to acheive marketing goals. In a perfect world, as the vision grows and expands so does the culture. Not only in size but also in perspective. When a culture is tuned properly it can maneuver between business realities and goals (marketing and sales) and still maintain a high degree of support for the vision.
Culture is a Feeling
You can tell a great deal about a company’s culture by the feeling you get inside its walls. We’ve all had experiences in which we’ve noticed that an organization’s culture is out of sync or discordant. An aura of tension pervades the space and the water cooler chatter is peppered with second-guessing and finger pointing commentary.
Culture is a key filtering process that an organization can use to maintain consistency, common cause and market differentiation. It’s the reason why BMW is not like Mercedes; German training and engineering, premium materials, audience demographics and price points are similar yet the people that make them are not, ergo, they are very different brands.
Cultures Reflect Leadership
Let’s take a quick review one of the most common factors that influence a culture; the leadership. It may remind you of your own organization and how leadership styles are affecting you today.
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? However you define it, staff and suppliers etc. typically conform and adapt to meet leadership’s expectations, in fact everybody does or they leave.
So what if the boss is moody? One can bet that there is an internal mechanism in the company that gauges the moodiness on a daily or maybe hourly basis and quite possibly someone has the responsibility to alert the rest of the staff. At companies like this, it’s important to get to the boss when he is in a “good mood.” In a “bad mood” the organization tends to be on edge and although outwardly people inside may seem to be supportive of corporate initiatives, very often they’re guessing and they’re not sure what to think, or how to act and more importantly, what to do. If you’re a boss, consistency can be your best ally.
What if there is more than one leader? Say two or more founders share leadership responsibilities. In terms of culture one would hope that the personalities and tendencies of the founders would be aligned. That’s not usually the case because typically founders need complimentary skill sets and experience to be able to get things going. Communications is the key here and the leaders have to defer to each other when appropriate and it’s always wise to have one with the final vote.
In addition to how the head of the company acts and engages with his team, there are factors that also impact company cultures. To be continued…