“Corporate culture?” one contractor said to me. “Whada’ya want me to do? Take my masons to the opera?” Well, not exactly. Corporate culture is not about art appreciation. It’s just a fancy way to say, “How do your employee’s feel about working for you?”
Every organization has a certain feeling, (often called morale – but not limited to morale). Top management, (usually the owner in a contracting organization), whether intentionally or unintentionally, engenders a “feeling” throughout the organization by communicating the goals and the methods they want to use to achieve those goals. This “feeling” is the company’s “culture”.
Creating a Culture
Vince Lombardi, the legendary head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, came to a complacent Green Bay team knowing he needed to change the way the players felt about themselves and the Green Bay brand. He set about altering the culture of the Green Bay Packers. He didn’t want a team of complacent professional athletes. He wanted a team of winners.
Here’s what he preached:
- “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
- “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
- “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
- “Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
- “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”
- “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
Coach Lombardi led a new Packer culture to FIVE!! NFL Championships in seven years. What’s more, Lombardi’s Packers made history by winning the first two Super Bowls at the conclusion of the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons. He didn’t take his players to the opera. He engendered a winning corporate culture.
Types of Corporate Culture
All organizations have a definite culture. Here are six typical cultures you may recognize.
- Team First
A company with a team-first corporate culture makes employee engagement its top priority. Frequent team outings, opportunities to provide meaningful feedback, and flexibility to accommodate employees’ family lives are common markers of a team-first culture. Netflix is a great example.
An elite corporate culture hires only the best because it’s always pushing the envelope and needs employees to not merely keep up, but lead the way, (think Google).
SpaceX is a high-profile example of an innovative culture doing big things in aerospace manufacturing and space transport. Employee’s report feeling motivated knowing that they’re doing meaningful, history-making work.
This corporate culture is common among startups because it makes for a collaborative, everyone-pitch-in mindset. Very few titles are used and almost no stratification. Bosses are there but they don’t look like bosses.
Companies where a tie and/or slacks are expected are, most likely, of the conventional sort. Traditional companies have clearly defined hierarchies, a numbers-focused approach, and risk-averse decision making. Many small to mid-sized contracting firms operate with a traditional culture.
Mergers, acquisitions, or sudden changes in the market can all contribute to a progressive culture. Because employees often don’t know what to expect next, uncertainty is the definitive trait of a progressive culture.
What’s Your Culture?
Take an honest look at your own organization. Is your culture one of the examples above or another not mentioned? Even though you may not have noticed the culture you have created in your company, rest assured, you have created one.
Is Your Company’s Culture Serving You?
Is everyone working together to achieve the goals you have set?
Is excellent performance your communal goal?
Are you getting maximum results from a group effort?
Are your employees satisfied with mediocre results?
Is everyone eager and tireless in achieving company objectives?
Vince Lombardi asked all the same questions when he took over the Packers and answered them with the quotes above. He knew exactly how he wanted his players to feel when they put on a Packer uniform. He wanted them to feel like winners, and they did.
Don’t believe that “corporate culture” has nothing to do with you. As I’ve said…whether you think so or not, your company has a certain culture. The question is, is it the culture you intended? Next week we’ll talk about how to identify your corporate culture and how to engender that culture into the fabric of your organization.
And, I promise, you won’t have to take your masons to the opera.
For more information on the Corporate Culture, read more at: https://simplarfoundation.org/?s=corporate+culture
For a broader view on organizational change, read more here: https://simplarfoundation.org/?s=organizational+change
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