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How company culture can make or break your business

Sharon Florentine | April 4, 2017
If you don't build a strong culture in your organization, one will appear anyway -- and it likely won't serve your company well.

Then, it's time for a reality check. Does your company have the "right" values? By that, Blue means values that serve your employees, customers, community and shareholders equally. These are values that form what he calls a "culture by design, not default". If not, it's time to change them, he says.

That means being willing to remove employees who aren't aligned with the values which, admittedly, can be tough, Blue says.

"Let's assume you have the 'right' values; you may, but I doubt it. Start at the top of the organization and go down, management layer by management layer. Those that don't believe in, won't abide by, or don't demonstrate the values have to go -- this is essential. This sounds simple, but it is not easy. If your top managers ignore the values, then everyone else will, too," Blue says.

This process doesn't have to happen in one fell swoop; it's a multi-year undertaking that must be performed carefully and delicately so that the business doesn't crash and burn, Blue says.

"Take it one step at a time, one manager at a time. And, believe me, once you start replacing managers for values reasons, the whole organization will begin to behave differently, and people will applaud you for doing so. This extends to hiring, too -- don't let anybody in the front door that doesn't fit in with your values. Interview potential new employees with values in mind. Don't just state the values and ask if they agree; of course they will, because they want the job. Ask them what their values are. Ask them what values they would admire in a company. If their values don't match with company values, don't hire them, no matter how good they are. Otherwise, they will be like an infectious disease on the organization," he says.

You also should make values a key part of performance evaluations. Don't make this a "check-off-the-box" exercise, Blue says. Make values the standard for promotions and compensation increases and a key determinate in terminations. "By instilling the right set of values, you'll save your company from becoming a four-letter word too," he says.



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