Once considered a philosophical, academic side issue, the business world now realizes that corporate culture is one of the central ingredients in the creation and continuance of long-term growth. Without a strong, healthy company culture, businesses are far more likely to be plagued by stagnation, high employee turnover and plateaued sales.
What is Company Culture?
An entrepreneurial culture is a loosely defined term that doesn’t come with a fixed set of criteria. For example, fierce competition to snag the brightest young recruits forced the tech industry to redefine the concept. With game rooms, gyms, masseuses and nap rooms, some Silicon Valley tech firms have blurred the line between work and play. Some high-stakes, big-money Wall Street financial firms, on the other hand, have a culture defined by pressure and intensity.
Whether they proactively steer their business culture or not, every company has one, and if the company’s leadership doesn’t drive the culture, the culture will drive the company.
Good or Bad, Culture Starts at the Top
In his upcoming book “Cultural Transformations” author John Mattone states that the key to corporate success is a strong and vibrant culture. In most cases, this starts at the top and works its way down the chain of command. A healthy, active culture is only possible if the leader exudes the traits that define a strong business culture. The same applies to negative cultures that are the byproduct of ineffective leadership.
How Can Leaders Steer Culture?
The first step for any CEO or entrepreneur concerned with culture is to take an honest inventory of his or her abilities, strengths and level of leadership maturity. Next, they must work toward amplifying their leadership potential by dedicating themselves to learning the traits that make good leaders, and then being honest about which of those traits they do and do not possess.
More Than One Kind of Compensation
The best employees are not only willing to work hard, but they are eager to do so – as long as they are duly compensated. Compensation, of course, can take the form of salary and benefits – well-paid employees are often happy employees. The most driven and passionate employees, however, also crave psychological compensation – namely, recognition and appreciation of their hard work, dedication and accomplishments.
Corporate transformation is only possible if the underlying business culture is strong, healthy and vibrant. Excellent corporate culture can only come from outstanding business leaders. If a company consciously and deliberately works toward fostering and maintaining a positive culture, all things are possible. If it does not, it is all but inevitable that a dreary culture will prevail, which will cost the business growth, earning potential and even its top employees.