I once watched a video of Steve Jobs which shows him re-assigning someone to a new task. Even though that person agreed to the new assignment, he returned to his system to put the finishing touches on his previous task. Within seconds, an extremely irritated and impatient Jobs told him to stop. He then pulled the plug on the employee’s computer and dismantled everything, forcing the colleague to focus only on the new task. Such behavior may not be accepted in most workplaces, yet at Apple Mr. Jobs’ approach enabled the company to reach unprecedented heights. Whenever a CEO is asked about incredible market success, the answer invariably mentions the company’s culture. In fact, it is the company’s culture which usually gets the most credit for runaway success. Interesting, since culture is intangible. One of the most difficult business questions to answer is “describe your company’s culture.” Here’s how the academics define business culture. It is a set of behaviors, values, rituals and reward systems which make up an organization. Whether formally articulated or not, it gets conveyed in the employees’ behavior, enthusiasm, and the workplace itself. Every company has a culture which guides the way it functions, approaches problems and resolves issues. This makes it important for a company to hire talent which not only delivers the skills required for the task at hand but also meets the cultural expectations of others in the team. Learning and development can always bridge the gap in skills, but a misfit on culture and attitude is not as easy to fix. A mismatch could lead to attrition of the new worker or established team members, making all stakeholders lose in the process. The Impact of Your Culture: Most people will acknowledge that at some point in their careers, their job created stress. Numerous studies that explored the causes of stress in the workplace, and results overwhelmingly show that it rarely has to do with the skills required to do the job. Stress is also not primarily attributed to a heavy workload. The most frequently cited cause of stress – and dissatisfaction with one’s job – is uncertainty of performance expectations, role clarity, teaming norms and processes for issue resolution. In a nutshell, culture can help to alleviate stress, or can be its primary cause. Culture is what decides how an employee deals with in a situation not covered by any training or employee manual. It can help one to transcend the bureaucratic restrictions and seek an innovative solution to an issue on hand, through creative and effective decision-making. How do you know if your culture will drive or hinder your company’s success? Here are the attributes of a healthy culture.
A shared culture is what makes an employee get up of a morning and rush to work on time, day after day after day. Let us try to understand the components of a company’s work environment and suggest actions you can take to build a culture that contributes to your company’s success:
Is your workplace culture infusing enthusiasm in your employees? If yes, continue the good work. If not, do make an effort to build the desired culture because its contribution to keeping a company together and on the path to success is immense. When hiring someone, do not just look at their credentials alone. Make sure they fit your culture. This holds true for your extended workforces too, if you need their contributions to match those of your permanent employees.
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