There is little doubt that the best performing firms on the planet have exciting and healthy cultures - think Google, Southwest and Nike - while other organizations seem to be in a constant state of struggle to reach their full potential. Interestingly, the leadership teams at struggling companies are often confounded to understand the reasons for their firm's "underperformance". Company culture is often to blame. Here are 10 signs that your company culture needs a fix:
1. Your business routinely falls short of its goals. Underperformance is a key indicator that "Rome is burning" within your business. Lackluster performance can suggest a lack of understanding, ability or interest among staff to do better - and those characteristics suggests that your company culture that needs to be deliberately improved.
2. Your people don't demonstrate a strong commitment to the firm. Weak Company Affiliation as reflected by high employee turnover, low energy and in less than stellar net promoter scores, indicates a cultural weakness that hurts the retention of your best and brightest.
3. Your people don't trust their leaders. A mistrust of Leadership & Management can present itself in many ways, including staff regularly questioning management's motivations, behaviors and practices. High mistrust indicates a company culture in need of repair.
4. Your people complain that they don't understand how "what they do" helps the business. A lack of Strategic Alignment & Staff Connection, as demonstrated by an undercurrent of doubt and misunderstanding about company direction among employees, points to a lack of communication. Poor communication is a productivity killer.
5. Your people describe working in silos (and you don't run a farm!). A lack of Collaboration & Teamwork among staff and work units suggests an organization in need of cultural repair. After all, the best results come from the "we", not the "I".
6. Your people don't feel that they have what they need to perform at their best. Staff must be enabled to get their jobs done. Innovation & Enablement comes by having the tools, technologies and freedom required to re-invent the way work is done. Often overlooked as a cultural element, but a firm's innovation bias can make or break a business.
7. Your people don't feel like they "own" the results. As discussed in last week's article, the sense of Ownership & Responsibility can be enhanced by empowering people to use their own free will to exceed all expectations. Many leaders underestimate the importance of empowerment in their cultures, don't be one of them!
8. Your people carp about the lack of positive feedback. The absence of Feedback & Recognition within an organization suggests that it is a tough place to work. Tough places of work are often the ones riddled with deep rooted culture challenges that, if left unchecked, can lead to their total collapse.
9. Your people are critical of the lack of opportunity that exists in the firm. Career stagnation is often a characteristic of an organization that lacks a commitment to Learning & Development. Personnel feel handcuffed to current roles and can't move up because they're not presented with the opportunities needed to develop the skills required to advance.
10. Your people's loudest gripe is about job burnout. A culture that lacks a deliberate focus on maintaining a healthy Work/Life Balance is often characterized by low staff morale, high employee burn-out and lower than average production from the workforce. It's a quality of an organization in need of cultural transformation.
To put all of this in perspective, if your company shows 2 or 3 of these signs, it probably needs some cultural improvement work to right the ship. When in organization is afflicted by 4 or 5 of these, there's no doubt that you need some outside help to remedy the situation. But, if you've nodded your head to 6 or more of these points - your culture requires an overhaul.
The good news is that you don't have to go it alone. There are firms, like N2Growth, that can help. In fact, we've developed a six step approach specifically aimed at transforming company culture. So, don't be shy about seeking outside perspective. It can prove to be invaluable in overcoming the havoc that a poor company culture can inflict on an organization.