Taking a Look at Culture
When walking into a business is the culture of the business seen by customers. The key elements of a culture are behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values, and the environment that surrounds the customers and employees. Some places of business are very clean with little touches such as pictures, fountains, music playing, and nicely painted walls. Others companies are messy and need repair and both give an impression. Some employees are smiling and immediately helpful and others look like they are never going to get up to serve the customer or it bothers them to do so.
Behaviors are a part of the culture. Human Resources and management usually have disciplinary actions for work related issues that are different than actions for behavior issues. The behavior actions are often times harsher. Behaviors involve how people act and react, make decisions, show professionalism or not, how they treat others, and conduct themselves at the workplace. Behavior affects many things quickly but are controllable, which is why bad behaviors are tolerated less.
Cultures entail relationships which involve how people communicate with others , engage in intellectual debate, manage conflict, assign credit and blame, praising and correcting, discipline, the written word, emails, phone manner, and management and employee interaction. This also spans many relationships such as immediate manager, other employees and departments, upper management, and very importantly the customer.
Attitude and behavior show how people feel about the organization’s purpose, mission, vision, how people identify with the team, organization as a whole, and feel about the company. People need to understand the importance of their work. People want meaningful work and they want to know they matter. They want input and their ideas heard and used if possible. They want to be a part of the whole. They want to be proud of the job done. You can’t put a price tag on it, it can’t be forced and can’t be bought. Because of the experience employees are having at the workplace, attitudes will be formed. But this is not all put on the company input but instead employees also have responsibility in this in bringing a positive attitude.
Values are the underlying assumptions beliefs, intentions, approach to learning, risk, time horizons, etc. They are the bedrock of culture. Our values give us direction.
• Respect and compassion – for the dignity and diversity of humans
•Integrity – Inspiring trust through leadership
•Wisdom – Integrating excellence
•Creativity – ideas and thinking from everyone
•Dedication – to doing excellent work for the customer
Corporate culture is the only truly sustainable competitive advantage and leaders must ensure that their culture is adapting to the changing business environment. Culture is a choice, not an inheritance. This is why we’re all new leaders all the time. This, in turn, is why we must continually evolve our culture.
A culture is a powerful thing. A positive culture benefits not only the organizations and communities that have it, but even more so the customers who are the focus of the effort. But a negative culture is just as powerful and can tear an organization down.
This culture should be based on the teams coming together to give customer excellence at all times. At the times when things go wrong it is about getting it corrected and talking care of the customers. A culture of caring is a great place to start. Caring for each other at a company and caring for the customers served.