Your Business Culture Has Taken a Hit. Now What?

Culture!

You have worked very hard and for a long time to build a positive culture in your business. You’ve conducted employee engagement surveys, developed, and executed action plans, hired carefully, nurtured your employees, and built the culture that you really wanted.

It was that great culture that powered you through COVID-19. The ups and downs and pivots seemed like daily events, but you got through it.

Now, some stress cracks are showing. You may be asking yourself “What happened to that culture that I worked so hard to build? “

If you are feeling frustrated and discouraged, you are not alone! The real question is what can you do about it?

Let’s roll up our shirt sleeves and see if we can come up with some answers, starting by defining what culture means in the first place.

To me, culture is that set of beliefs and behaviours that define how a company’s employees and management interact with each other and with those outside the company.

I’ve had people say to me “We’ve never worked on culture in our company, so I guess we don’t really have one”. Make no mistake about it, every company has a culture. It has either been created purposefully by the leaders of the company or it has developed organically as a haphazard mixture of the beliefs and behaviours that individual employees bring with them when they join your team.

What business culture did you have? What business culture do you want? To answer these questions, we need to figure out how to measure culture, and to help with that, we created the Culture Self Evaluation Checklist!

To access this Checklist, click here.

After completing the checklist, If you’re not happy with the score you calculated, here are some action steps you might consider:

  1. Embrace the problem, remembering that transparency and vulnerability are very powerful, positive leadership traits. They build buy-in and renewed commitment.
  2. Have all leaders learn to become expert listeners?
  3. Develop a model for giving timely fact-based feedback, both positive and negative.
  4. Conduct a career development conversation one to one with each employee [ask the question “how has COVID-19 changed your career goals?]
  5. Institute short factual weekly check-in’s one to one with each employee and their direct manager.
  6. Make sure you have the right people in the right jobs based on matching individual natural talents with the requirements of the job.
  7. Conduct an anonymous employee survey and be prepared to act immediately on the results of the survey.

At the heart of the matter, your culture is driven by your guiding principles or core values. Here are some questions to ponder:

  • What are your guiding principles or core values?
  • Are they in writing and well understood by all employees?
  • Have you socialized your guiding principles or core values? By this I mean do your leaders behave in a manner that consistently reflects your values.

Peter Drucker is alleged to have said “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Whether Drucker actually said this or not doesn’t really matter. It’s a great thought to ponder and act upon.