A lot gets written about corporate culture, but I believe more emphasis should be placed on the CEO or business leader’s role in creating and maintaining that culture. Why? Because company culture drives how people within an organization behave. More importantly, culture is what happens when the CEO leaves the room.
Why Bother Taking a Proactive Approach Toward Company Culture?
Do you tolerate internal silos? Poor communication? Bad attitudes? Hoping these problems will fix themselves is not a winning strategy; in fact, the longer these problems persist, the harder it is to turn the business around.
Culture starts with a basic, unchanging principle: Behaviors drive actions, and actions drive results. Everyone knows (or should know) what a dysfunctional culture looks like. It’s a place where sloppy work, poor employee performance and a “whatever” attitude is tolerated. Whether dysfunction occurs overnight or during a company’s long, tortuous downward spiral, it will inevitably sink a business and should be avoided at all costs.
The CEO’s Role in Creating Company Culture
The most innovative business models and the greatest break-through strategies will succeed only when the company culture is embedded throughout the organization from the bottom to the top.
- What type of culture do you want your business to have?
- Do you have a vision of how that culture will drive performance?
As CEO, it’s your role not only to create the vision but to align it to systems and processes within the organization that make it work. Here are a few tips to build a viable culture:
1. What Motivates the People Who Work for You?
Strong leaders understand what’s important to their employees. They talk to employees, learn about their expectations and values, make the effort to show that communication and collaboration are key elements of the company culture.
2. Are You Doing Enough to Encourage Employee Innovation?
Individuals with a stake in the outcome are much more highly motivated than listless, alienated employees. No doubt the people who work for you have some great ideas about how the business could be improved. Have you asked them? Is there an outlet for them to share their ideas? Getting people more involved leads to a greater drive to help the business succeed.
3. Have You Taken Steps to Implement Employee Feedback?
If you invite employee ideas, you should be willing to take the next step and implement ones with genuine value. You have the broad vision of where the business is going; help people understand how their ideas fit into the big picture and guide them toward translating these ideas into concrete actions that benefit everyone. Driving the culture you want isn’t easy. You have to work at it every day, and you’re no exception.
Remember: How a company functions when someone isn’t watching determines its true character and its ultimate success.
CEOs and business leaders who join Catapult Groups are committed to fostering healthy, productive cultures. Find out more about how being a Catapult Groups member can help you grow your business while creating a great place to work by downloading our free brochure.