As business owners, Presidents, CEO’s, and leaders you are more likely to know your profit & loss statement numbers than the status of your organizations’ cultural state. Evaluating revenue and expenses against budgets and making financial capital purchase decisions may all come in the natural course of a days work. You may even have a pulse on how your customers view your business and products. The reality is that most leaders don’t have a real sense of the cultural energy which is one of the main currents of the long-term success of an organization.
Culture is one of those rather nebulous or blurry aspects of the business. From an intellectual perspective, it is the nature or style by which an organization conducts itself with employees, customers and the community it services. From a day to day measurable, it is the behaviors of the organizations’ people which are the outward expression of the business’s core values. Those elements (values) which under no circumstances does the company violate or diminish regardless of the situation.
Here in lies the basic problem. Companies craft “Core Values” as part of a strategic planning exercise but few actually embrace them let alone hold their teams to the highest of standards to live by them under all circumstances. Thus the company culture drifts away from what is “Core” and then becomes toxic. This drift causes individual values to seep into an organization and slowly deteriorate the bases of the company’s values.
Many times it is not intentional and because it happens very slowly, the leadership does not see how it is impacting key decisions at all levels of the organization. Much like the erosion of sand along the beach, you can’t visually see the hundreds of thousands of grains which daily disappear with the movement of the tides. The same is true about the delusion of values in a business unless the top leadership not only live to the “Core Values” but they MUST be present in all business transactions and dialogues.
Core Values cannot be just words which sound good and attempt to convey a particular message which is good for marketing. Core values need visual and emotional content for them to come to life in your business. Core values need to be recognizable from all of the various relationships which exist with a business – both internal and external.
This week take some time to recognize your business’s “Core Values” either in action or missing in action. If you don’t have core values to use as a means to measure, then maybe start to think about how this is causing an environment which is toxic at your company. When you notice positive or negative behaviors to your core values, write them down. Don’t just try to remember them but begin to document what is actually taking place. Possibly have your leadership team do the same and compare notes at your next leadership gathering. You may be surprised at what you discover.
Is your business or personal culture in need of a framework to bring the best out in you and your company? It is time to call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 so we can discuss “Promise Culture.”