Why is the new Mission
Culture… what is it really? We hear buzz words thrown out all of the time in business these days. “We pride ourselves on having a great culture here at Acme Corporation”. Most of the time when you ask people to describe what a great culture is they give you examples like, “we have open communication, anybody can chat with the President of the company, we like to do things together, they feed us a lot here”… you get the point and can probably fill in the blank with other bullsh*t lines that you have heard.
Let’s shift a sec from company culture to a company’s philosophy, their core values.
- Respect We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. We do not tolerate abusive or disrespectful treatment. Ruthlessness, callousness and arrogance don’t belong here.
- Integrity We work with customers and prospects openly, honestly, and sincerely. When we say we will do something, we will do it; when we say we cannot or will not do something, then we won’t do it.
- Communication We have an obligation to communicate. Here, we take the time to talk with one another and to listen. We believe that information is meant to move and that information moves people.
- Excellence We are satisfied with nothing less than the very best in everything we do. We will continue to raise the bar for everyone. The great fun here will be for all of us to discover just how good we can really be.
- We treat others as we expect to be treated ourselves. We believe in respect for the rights of all individuals and are committed to promoting an environment characterized by dignity and mutual respect for employees, customers, contractors, suppliers, partners, community members, and representatives of all levels of government.
Do you know whose values these were? They were Enron’s. You are probably wondering “what is the point”, you are talking about culture and their values seem great. I totally agree with you, the values are wonderfully written. (Enron is an example of a defunct company that lost vision and values.) The point is “talk is cheap” and culture is more than having great values or communication with the CEO.
Assumptions always lean in the favor of the person making the assumptions.
Let me explain – so many organizations make the assumption that since they have put certain things in place their organizations culture will flow throughout, great service, employee minded, caring… This is so far from the truth; it starts from the top and funnels down from there. If you have these core principals/values in place and constantly send a different message then your assumptions are extremely dangerous!
Culture is your why and compass for decision making.
I have established relationships with companies that have a clear “why” and ones that think they do “like Enron” but in fact have lost their way or “why” amidst change, growth, etc.
Culture is a direct reflection of the leadership of the organization and action is the only answer.