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Types of corporate culture

Alan Jones's Profile

types of corporate culture

Our company's senior managment is just beginning to consider how being consciously pro-active in molding the company culture, versus just letting it happen, may pay productivity, innovation,collaboration, hiring and retention dividends. Looking for any insights borne of experience that may help with either our process or goals in this endeavor.

Initial discussions seem get side-tracked around how much freedom is too much? Maybe an experienced look at types of coporte culture would help.

 

Answers

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Hi Alan,

Proformative has a free white paper on this topic titled "Build It, and They Will Come: How fostering a unique corporate culture helps attract and retain top talent:"

https://www.proformative.com/whitepapers/build-it-they-will-come-how-fostering-unique-corporate-culture-helps-attract-retain-top

I hope that helps.

Best... Sarah

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Please take a look at a blog I wrote - What is the Proper Way to Roll Out an Ethics Program? (http://cfotips.com/?p=158). Just remember the way your Senior Managers act will have the most weight with respect to what your employees will model vs. any documented policy or procedure.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

Yes Regis.

Hypocrites are universally despised and, any guidance they proffer will be discounted and routinely ignored.

I well remember at one, privately held distribution company where I worked, the case of the VP of Operations who gave a rousing sermon at a companywide meeting on not accepting gifts from vendors so as to avoid any conflict of interest.

Only a few weeks later, he and his wife jettisoned off to Super Bowl weekend in Florida courtesy of UPS who he had signed a large contract with for our shipping.

This flew around the office and warehouse and left a bitter taste in everyone's mouth.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

Take a look at the book The Pursuit of Something Better by Esler & Kruger. We wanted a complete overhaul on our company culture and after spending quite a bit of time with U.S. Cellular's corp employee's we read the book, which is based on their former CEO Jack Rooney and his vision for a dynamic organization. Research Zappo's and Southwest Airlines as well; they have some great resources to help guide you along the way. What we found was don't re-invent the wheel you will run into unnecessary headaches and it will only stall the process. Research companies who successfully transitioned their culture; obtain a plan of action and it will take very strong push from executive leaders with constant communication.

We changed our vision this year and we talked about it in meetings with our team's weekly in the beginning. If you don't over communicate and model the new behaviors they become words on paper and a waste of time.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Christie makes a potent comment "....If you don't over communicate and model the new behaviors....".

The culture is set by the tone at the top. If your owner/CEO does not display his/her own adherence to/belief in the desired culture by consistent demonstration of the right behavior that represents the culture, your exercise will be a waste of time. That adherence is not only important when things are normal, it is critical when the chips are down and tough decisions have to be made. The other execs won't go out on a limb if their leader doesn't.

What also counts is how execs recognize in others their ability to demonstrate how they act out the desired behavior, and also how those same execs react when it comes to mistakes people make (and they will make mistakes). If they fail to notice what others do well or over react to mistakes, guess what happens?

If no one has experience doing this, I recommend getting an outside facilitator. After all, the change management aspects of this exercise are huge. You will probably be asking the leaders to take a hard look in the mirror!!!

Does that help?

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

"The Pursuit of Something Better" is a great suggestion.

And once you have your culture goal cemented, sometimes DISC assessments can be beneficial in helping to understand the dynamic of your current team; where the gaps are, if any; and who your future hires should be to maintain that culture.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Just to add dimension to the conversation:

Culture is not only about ethics. Culture includes every aspect of the company, from dress code to pets in the work place; community involvement to employee programs and beyond.

Cutlure is the way in which you want to portray the company both internally and externally.

I remember Inc. Magazine in the 80's was a giant cornucopia of Corporate Culture case studies. Worth a read and hopefully finding out if the experiments ultimately worked.

John Argo
Title: Consultant
Company: Independent Advisory Services
(Consultant, Independent Advisory Services) |

As the Sicilian proverb goes, "a good sailor is proven in a storm." Many efforts at explicitly developing a culture, through exercises and platitudes fall short of accomplishing anything meaningful. A solid code of conduct that is genuinely embraced...not just sold...is an important foundation. This only sets the stage for a culture to be proven. The culture really gets established when it faces important challenges. It gets set by how the people of the company face the challenges and turn them into opportunities. The characteristics of the people that enable successfully facing a challenge cause a real culture to take root.

Two good books are "On Becoming a Leader" (Warren Bennis) and "Good to Great" Jim Collins.

Outside of facing genuine challenges with success, most cultures will only be understood at a superficial level.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

Management sets the tone.

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