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Corporate Culture Shift: It Needs to Be Built, Not Bought

You hear about corporate cultures that are results driven, ones in which people are respected and trusted in their positions because they are the experts in their positions. Does this sound like your company or association?

A culture shift occurs primarily when new leadership arrives. Whenever someone new steps into a leadership position, the culture is undoubtedly going to change in some way, which can change the “way we do things” because of their experience or there being a fresh perspective.

But leaders also enter into an existing culture. Some aspects of that culture can be positive and working well, but there can also be lingering challenges that need to be overcome or repaired… and that takes time and effort because it’s not easy to change.

Corporate culture matters. What does a good one look like? They share these attributes:

  1. This entails a high level of honesty from everyone in the company, no matter their position or importance. Transparency is essential among team members during the course of a project: are we on time, are we confident in what we’re doing, do we need help. This honesty extends to client relationships as well, which helps to grow friendship and respect. Leaders, likewise, should be up front about the state of the company and its future, perhaps even offering to share company finances in order help everyone understand what they are working for. This entails an open door policy, where it’s actually true.
  2. Minimal to no micromanaging. Micromanaging never works. It grows anxiety and distrust. Companies with managers and leaders who trust in the expertise of their employees typically have higher employee satisfaction.
  3. Work hard, play hard. Potlucks, soup cook-offs, design contests, basketball leagues, cookouts, winter tubing – whatever it is, providing opportunities for everyone in the company to gather and share in a meal or activity together is a mark of a good company culture. It doesn’t always need to be an event hosted by the leadership. Create spaces with activities where employees can gather on their own.
  4. Results oriented. Even though procedures and responsibilities are put into place for each part of a process for each role, the overarching goal of getting it done on time and getting it done right supersedes any siloes or personal conflicts. Sure there can be bottlenecks and frustrations, but the focus remains on the end result. If there is a bottleneck, how can we as a team resolve this right now and for the future? Teams that do this well don’t hold up the process by blaming others around them; they are part of developing the solution.
  5. Willingness to share. The success of a company is a team effort. No one person gets all the credit. A positive company culture recognizes the work of others, correcting others if there is misinformation about who “deserves” the credit. Leaders will also share the credit with their team and pass on compliments from clients so that all can share in the success. Many companies, though not required, go the extra mile and offer bonuses or gifts when least expected – sharing the wealth, even though they don’t have to.
  6. Community participation. Invite employees to get involved with community events and causes. Sponsor an event and ask employees to work it, for example. It’s not only good visibility for your company, it’s keeping life in perspective. Giving back to others will help to cultivate a sense of gratitude and happiness within people’s hearts. And for leaders, be open to opportunities employees and clients bring in front of you where you can get involved.

If your company or association’s culture is not what you want it to be, to transform it into the type of culture you want will require time to build. It takes an effort and a strong resolve to change how an office works together and plays together. If successful, you’ll have happier, more dedicated co-workers who are secure in their roles and flexible enough to work with others to generate the best outcome for your clients.


Article written by:

Jillian LaCross

New Media Director, Managing Editor

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