Although Culture is generally agreed to be a powerful force that can strongly influence a company’s success or failure, the reality is that even the most acutely aware organizations will not be able to total control the way they want people to behave and the way they actually behave.
Same Company – Different Cultures
Generally speaking, when a company is small, say fewer than 25 people, who all work the same hours in the same location, culture is fairly easy to observe, monitor and mold.
However, in today’s economic environment, that is not likely the case and even for an astute entrepreneur, the development and control of the company’s culture is likely to be magnitudes more difficult.
Example: Suppose you own a reasonably successful company that has 150 employees with offices in different cities. You are likely to have people with vastly different backgrounds including age, sex, marital status, geographic location, ethnicity, religion, education, political affiliation and a wide variety of personal interests. Now add to that their specific job requirements, hours they work, the passion and excitement they have for the projects they work on and a whole host of other daily variables that could affect the way they feel and act on a specific day, such as traffic jams, family relationships, weather, car problems, health and financial issues and you’ll get a glimmer of understanding just how difficult it is to fashion a culture that the entrepreneur can control. In that case, a business is even likely to have different cultures in different offices, departments and even work shifts.
That might not be a bad thing, but it is something the business has to be aware of and make allowances for. The entrepreneur should at least try to have a coherent culture built on a set of values and principles that are relatively constant throughout the company with variations and expectancies throughout various subsets of employees.
When a company has a strong culture, it will attract strong leaders that will further help mold, communicate and implement the company’s culture to other employees.
The best and most effective organizations cultivate leaders that embrace diversity, not because it’s the “nice” thing to do but, because it’s the most effective way for a business to prosper. Define your vision and clearly communicate what you believe it would take to make that vision a reality.
Understand that there are many ways to achieve your company’s objectives so you must decide which elements of the culture are most important? What are the priorities? How much time are you willing to invest in getting there and what actions do you need to take to build the culture you envisioned?
Strive for Perfection but Live in the Real World
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every business had an unlimited supply of super talented candidates that could fill every position in the company? But, even if that were true, would it be in the best interests of the company to hire them? Personally, I strongly doubt it.
While it is great to have superstars on your team, in my opinion, it is much better to have a team, i.e., a group of people who actually like and respect each other and not only work harmoniously with each other but are willing to go that extra mile to make sure their team and the company succeeds.
Look to hire people who are willing to share success rather than take credit for it.