The word “culture,” according to Merriam-Webster, came in as the most searched word in 2014 and it remains in the top 1 percent of all online-dictionary searches. A short hike down the list, at number 27, was the query “How to change my company’s culture.”
Webster’s report suggests people aren’t simply looking for the definition of the word, but how its meaning shifts in any number of circumstances. Even more interesting, businesses are seeking ways to innovate and improve their company’s cultural environment.
“Many companies have nice sounding value statements displayed in the lobby, such as: integrity, communication, respect, excellence,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings famously said. Hastings added, “Enron, whose leaders went to jail and which went bankrupt from fraud, had these values displayed in their lobby.”
Despite the fact that the giant energy company espoused these ideals, the behavior of Enron’s leadership couldn’t have been farther from the words etched in the marble floor of their Houston headquarters.
Successful leaders chart a course for a prosperous future by lifting up and, even more crucial, acting on the values important to company culture. When executive leadership, in any enterprise, fail to imbue the core of their company’s culture, they overlook the most basic element in setting the right direction for their organization.
A positive attitude about and adherence to an organization’s core ideals inspires employees to respect and place worth on culture and values. When a team shares a positive experience together, their belief in company ideals is strengthened and then their behavior and enthusiasm forms the actual foundation of the organization’s core culture.
Focus on creating a positive experience for everyone in the company and department brands and values will take care of themselves.
Company Culture Series, Part II: Culture Based Ergonomics Program, a Participatory Model
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