A Business Coach Looks at Corporate Culture

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On September 14, 2018

Corporate culture in businessIf you do a quick search for “Corporate Culture” on amazon.com you’ll find more than 50,000 books on the topic. It’s obviously an important issue to a lot of people—even if some in business snicker a bit at the idea. My suspicion is that those who don’t take corporate culture seriously don’t actually understand what it is—and what it isn’t. Here’s how a business coach looks at corporate culture.

Casual Fridays Don’t Create Corporate Culture
When you mention corporate culture to some people, the things that come to mind for them are casual Fridays; ping-pong or air hockey tables in the break rooms; or employees riding around on scooters or Segues. Those are all fun things and there’s nothing wrong with any of them. They can help create a fun, casual atmosphere, but that’s not what your corporate culture is made of.

Money Doesn’t Make Culture
Some businesses attempt to create a “culture of success.” Often, the way success is measured is monetary. Naturally, you want your business to succeed. You want it to grow. And there’s nothing wrong with reaping the reward of a good paycheck. But a big paycheck alone isn’t enough. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay employees a good, competitive salary.  However, businesses are increasingly finding that loyal, long-term employees are looking for more. Here’s a post that explores the key for hiring the right people.

What Really Matters?
Vision:The people you really want on your team are those who long to be part of something that’s bigger than themselves. You’ll want to make sure that your vision is clear and compelling. Offer your people something worth striving for.  That’s what a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)is all about.

Growth/Development: Outstanding employees aren’t content with the status quo. If all you want is to maintain things the way they are, you can hire “capable” people who are willing to punch the clock and do their jobs. If you want to grow you’ll want people who are looking to improve and grow. It’s important to establish a culture that rewards people who want to develop new skills, ultimately develop your people if you want to grow.

Setting the Tone Yourself: As a business leader, you have to take the lead in setting the tone of your corporate culture. It’s not the job of your HR department to motivate employees or keep them happy. It’s your job to make sure the vision is clear and that it motivates your people to keep improving. It means you have to develop a style of leadership that allows people to grow and take on more responsibility (and even make mistakes). You’ve got to work to improve yourself (that’s one reason I regularly add to the website Resources Page so that you can explore ways to do that).

It’s also helpful to take a look at where you are currently with your corporate culture. If you click on the “BUSINESS NOT GROWING?” button below, part of what you’ll assess is how you’re doing in the realm of corporate culture—of creating an atmosphere that attracts the right people to your business—and keeps them there!

See more on Organizational Culture.