Culture… why should we care about it?
Every leader wants their company to have great culture – but what makes a culture great? When you Google “What makes a successful company culture” 161 000 000 results show up. People talk about it all the time. So what? Why do we care so much? Why does it matter?
Good vs Bad Culture
We have all heard of organizations that have foosball tables, beanbag chairs, ping-pong tournaments or meditation rooms. Are these signs of a good culture? While these might be things companies do to create a culture – there are also things companies don’t do that inevitably create culture – like turning a blind eye to bad behaviour.
What happens when you can’t fund the fun stuff? Are people really playing a lot of ping-pong when times are lean, profits are down and everyone is stressed? What about when time pressures trump creating social connections and bad behaviour is tolerated because “everyone is stressed” and focused on one and only one thing – making money? During these difficult times, what can we do to protect and reinforce culture? What drives people to work hard and continue to drive things forwards?
Culture Trumps Everything
According to Dr. Gustavo Grodnitzky (http://drgustavo.com/) “Culture Trumps Everything”. If you have some time to watch the corresponding video (http://drgustavo.com/videos/), you will hear some interesting concepts on this subject. Dr. Gustavo illustrates that when organizations have a social cause – they out perform those that don’t – over the long term. Specifically, he compares companies that employ ‘classic capitalism’ with companies employing ‘social capitalism’ and shows that companies with a social cause outperform classic capitalism companies on return to shareholders over the long term.
So what does this mean to a small business culture on a day-to-day basis? While we may not all have a clear social cause, we can focus on important factors that give people the drive to continue to move the needle forwards. Factors such as connectedness, common values, the feeling of belonging and being part of a team are very important to any size of company. Trust, cooperation and an eye to a common good go a very long way. When the going gets tough, these are the things that keep us all going.
For some ‘food for thought’, when the going gets tough, it might be a good time to double down to develop and reinforce deep bonds and connections, to strengthen trust and show authenticity.
Man’s Search for Meaning
In signing off, we leave you with a quote from Viktor Frankl from “Man’s Search for Meaning”:
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” Victor Emil Frankl (1905 – 1997)