GET FOCUSED. GET CONTROL. GET GROWING.
Link to WHO WE WORK WITH Link to HOW WE WORK WITH Link to SERVICES Link to CASE STUDIES Link to RESOURCES Link to ABOUT US Link to CONTACT US
e-zine past issues small business ideas and resources
Sign up for our e-zine!
next: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
GET FOCUSED. GET CONTROL. GET GROWING.
Monthly Business e-Tips Vol 3
Issue 8

Creating Culture Shock

Shock is an emotionally charged word which can be perceived as negative. In many instances, like personal tragedies, it is. However, because it startles and often instigates change, using shock in relation to a business culture, can be very effective. In order to improve or grow your business, change needs to occur. Most clients I work with need to make significant changes in the culture of their companies to get there.

A few months ago I wrote about the micromanager and the affect too much control can have on employees’ performance and motivation. On the other hand, businesses can suffer from a too relaxed environment with undefined structure and few enforced policies. This can also affect motivation and keep the company from growing.

For example, I have one professional services client with an unproductive staff. Staff members worked too few billable hours and didn’t take the initiative to ask for more work when they were finished with projects. The partners were not happy about this but were never clear about their expectations. This resulted in a culture which accepted a poor work ethic. The firm wants to grow, but first it needs some culture shock.

Another client suspected that store employees were stealing merchandise. The owners see it as expected behavior for the retail industry. Unless someone is caught red-handed, the theft is accepted as a cost of doing business. That is just one of many poor employee behaviors ignored by ownership. Other employees know what is going on; what is the message to them? This company also needs a culture shock.

I often ask clients to identify the culture of their companies. We talk about what works and doesn’t and then define a culture that would better serve them. It takes time but the introduction of the new culture makes people stand up and listen. The challenge then becomes enforcing the elements of the culture that create trust and make your employees know you mean business.

Important aspects of a successful culture change:

  • Provide an open and honest work environment. Employees and vendors need to know they are dealing with people who are upfront and truthful with them. It must start at the top with management. Less than honest interactions should not be tolerated anywhere in the company.
  • Lead by example. As owners, you can talk about what you would like from employees, but if you don’t practice the standards you set, it is hard to get others to follow them. Always be a role model. Behave in the way you want your employees to behave. Treat them with the same respect you want them to treat your customers.
  • Clearly define roles and expectations. This is a critical aspect of culture for a well-run company. Articulate responsibilities and mandate people be accountable for them. That means regular performance reviews, training programs to help people do their jobs and rewards for exemplary performance.
  • Remove the poor performers. By keeping those who do not fit into your new dynamic culture, you are working against your goals. If you have given people enough of a chance and they cannot make the grade, you need to let them go. It may seem harsh but keeping them isn’t fair to everyone else who is working hard.
  • Encourage professional development for employees. Part of a good culture is to help your employees develop and grow. You will benefit by creating loyalty and improving the skills of your people.
Think about the changes you need to make in your culture. Define them carefully and make sure you can model, implement and enforce what you promote. If you make a culture change, be sure to make a company-wide announcement about it. When you talk about the pending changes, make sure the messages are positive and motivating. Then turn the culture shock into a living culture that nurtures its people and benefits the business.

info@possibilities-at-work.com | 978-255-1767 | 25 Storey Avenue #290, Newburyport, MA 01950
site map | 20032013 Possibilities@Work, All rights reserved