A clear reflection

If you write down the values you want your company to embrace, I think you’ll find that they are the same ones you have for yourself.

A company’s culture is a reflection of the CEO who runs it. Good people create good organizations; bad people create bad organizations.

A CEO with a high regard for integrity and honesty will drive those values throughout a company. Someone who doesn’t share those values will cut every corner possible to turn a profit and won’t care what the consequences may be. Good intentions are not enough. You have to make sure there is not a disconnect between your goals and what’s actually going on in the organization.

Not every decision will come directly from the CEO, but the tone he or she sets establishes the parameters that employees use to make day-to-day decisions.

Without strong guidance from you on what these parameters are, people will develop a culture on their own that may not be to your liking. That’s why it’s important to decide what you want your company culture to be, then emphasize the values that make up that culture in as many ways as possible.

When it comes to culture, it’s almost impossible to overcommunicate. People need to be reminded again and again about what direction you want the company to go in and how they should conduct themselves in getting there.

It’s also helpful to conduct surveys of all levels of employees to see just how far down in the organization your cultural message is reaching. It’s easy to define a culture, but it’s much harder to drive it across a large organization that might be spread across several states or countries.

Are your managers on board with you? If not, your cultural message may not be making it out of the executive offices, let alone to the employee three states over. And if they aren’t living your culture, whose are they living?

Only a constant reinforcement of your vision, mission and values will establish the culture you want in the minds of your employees. It might require parting ways with people who don’t buy in because you can’t have a half-hearted effort. After all, what is half-hearted honesty or half-hearted integrity?

It can take years to change a culture, and it’s a never-ending effort. The communication and reinforcement have to continue in everything you say and do. If it doesn’t, the values that your company embraces may not be the ones you had in mind, and that, in turn, is a poor reflection on you.

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