Have you ever been purposeful in observing the variation in corporate culture among multiple organizations? I marvel at the stark difference in culture from one company to another as evidenced by “how” customers and co-workers are greeted and treated.
On a recent visit to a large corporation, I observed that employees didn’t acknowledge each other as they passed in the hallway. In fact, many had their heads buried in their cellphones and didn’t appear to be happy. As a guest of the company, I was saddened that, other than the receptionist, very few individuals acknowledged the company’s visitors.
When I worked at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital, our leadership team was purposeful about perpetuating our culture of compassionate accountability. Our employees went out of their way to treat every patient like the “only” person in our world. Patients and visitors frequently commented that they could feel our positive culture. Our guests loved the friendly nature and the helpful “can do” spirit of our employees, physicians and volunteers.
During a recent layover in the Denver airport I saw an ad displayed by Southwest Airlines that said, “In a world full of no, we’re a plane full of yes.” This ad reinforced the accolades I have long heard about the high-flying culture at Southwest.
On my journey home I read stories within the in-flight magazine about Southwest employees who love their jobs and made a positive difference for their customers. Southwest is intentional about encouraging and reinforcing such culture-shaping behaviors. The company has made a commitment to keep its culture healthy, its employees happy and, as a result, its passengers loyal.
Time for a check-up
C-suite executives and corporate directors appear to be having more deliberate conversations about the impact of corporate culture upon sustained organizational performance. As a result, is it time for your company to have a cultural check-up?
Consider the following questions:
1. What is your organization doing to create and to sustain a positive corporate culture?
2. How are the people of your organization showing up every day?
3. Is your corporate culture helping or harming your company’s efforts to create brand loyalty?
4. Can you identify one word to describe your corporate culture? How would your employees and customers answer this question? Is there a gap in perception? If so, what steps will you take to fill the gap?
5. What is your organization doing to recognize systematically the positive, culture-shaping actions of your employees?
6. What should you do differently as a leader to make your culture a magnet for customer loyalty and a source of pride for your employees?
My grandmother frequently quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
As the pilot of your team, what are you doing to pursue a high-flying culture? Now is the time to lead the way so that your company’s performance might soar to new heights.
Janet Meeks is the co-founder and CEO of Healthcare Alignment Advisors LLC. With 38 years of experience in finance and health care along with extensive service in the boardroom, Janet Meeks is a sought-after adviser to CEOs and other C-suite executives across a variety of industries. She is also the author of the book “Gracious Leadership: Lead Like You’ve Never Led Before,” that was released in January 2018.