There are seven things that business cultures need to address.
During the last five years I have explored business opportunities and studied businesses that have recently failed.
I compiled this short list of issues which contribute to the erosion of cultures in many organizations.
Of greater interest to me is the fact that communication (no surprise) was at the core of every issue.
Communication, or the lack of it, destroys business cultures and it expeditiously destroys a brand.
1. Leaders Who Are Only Interested In Their Own Survival.
I have met leaders who live and work in a vacuum.
Their door is shut and the only thing emitting from their office is what they believe to be a new strategy.
Most do care about people and the organization.
Some of them have moved to desperation and the organization suffers for it.
There is this short term mentality in business that has driven many leaders to the brink in their careers.
The rush to bring in bigger profits than the last quarter rather than building a business with longevity has been detrimental. As industries begin to adjust to the new economy they also find themselves scrambling to stay relevant and focused.
2. Organizational Communication Doesn’t Include Listening To Others.
Everyone talks about communication, however we forget that as a leadership skill it is either a strength or weakness.
When leadership fails to communicate effectively about the future, business performance and gratitude, they create doubt.
More importantly the art of listening is a leader’s biggest opportunity to inspire trust.
Leaders who are closed to feedback and believe they know it all, are impaired by lack of insight.
Insight comes from listening and asking deep questions about how to improve the organization.
3. Lack Of Integrity And Credibility.
Leaders at all levels really forget how fragile their roles are.
When it comes to integrity and credibility it is about trust and believability.
When that is lost it tears away at the foundation of cultures.
This applies to all organizations, for profit and not for profit.
No one person or organization is exempt!
If you want to change your influence and make it more effective, build your integrity and credibility.
It is an important foundation in this new economy.
4. Employee Engagement Means Just Work Harder And Don’t Ask Questions.
We hear a lot about employee engagement (EE) and its benefits.
When EE becomes more of a carrot and stick play, it also creates distrust.
Quite often I see comments on @Linkedin about the human resource leaders not being trusted. There is a reason for that! It happens because HR needs to watch the fine line they serve.
They cannot be both a fellow associate and organizational police officers.If the organization is serious about EE, they need to make talent as their main focus within employee engagement.
EE needs to be focused on its contribution to culture, which means “Fit and Talent must be a Competitive Advantage”.
5. Manipulative Leaders Who Think No One Sees Or Knows What They Are Up To.
Manipulative leaders are culture killers, these leaders have already sabotaged their own careers.
Sometimes when this happens they will behave in a manor that is counterintuitive to their culture.
They can “take everyone down with them”, if they can’t succeed, their attitude is that no one should!
When leaders tell their people that they love working with them, and their team in return is petrified to meet with them.
This is a sign that the culture of the organization is getting weaker.
There is only one solution for leaders like this, they must be relieved of their duties or for you to leave this job behind.
Either way when leaders like this are allowed to play their games, the organization is past change.
6. Counselling And Training Mean The Same Thing.
Then there is the other issue of managing performance.
Most employees don’t mind constructive feedback.
The problem is when someone believes that this is also training.
Having led multiple organizations at one time.
I’ve done it successfully by differentiating between development and performance.
The talent in your organization knows the difference between development and performance management.
The two must be mutually distinct or you are burning the future of your culture.
7. Continual Change That Leads To Fear And Doubt About Jobs.
When leadership is subversive or coy with their feedback about the future of the company, it leads to doubt.
If employees go home wondering if there will be a tomorrow, you can be rest assured the poison is getting through to them.
The problem is that this is desperate leadership trying everything to succeed at any cost in the end it delivers nothing!
Change requires leadership skills that will quarterback change, if that doesn’t exist the board of directors needs to act faster.
If the board doesn’t act faster, the shareholders should and replace the board.
At the end of the day cultures live and die in the hands of good or bad leadership.
Other times change becomes a hopeful outcome. Unfortunately, when hope becomes your only strategy the outcome isn’t always good.
My name is George Minakakis. I am the CEO of Inception Retail Group. The author of last Retailer Standing and my next Book The Great Transition -Emergence of Disruptive Leadership.
Available as an advisor and keynote speaker.