Monday, August 04, 2008

Why (Corporate) Culture Matters, #XXIV

I've been thinking more or more that my blog is becoming a hodge podge of what are really two interests but I'm a bit too lazy to actually have two blogs so this will have to do for now. Anyway, Incentive Intelligence by Paul Hebert makes a few interesting points. First, by quoting from Jim Champy's Outsmart - How to do what your Competition Can't: "Companies that outsmart their competitors depend on culture to manage behavior. Incumbents use rules and controls." (Reading this was one of those aha! moments for me)

That said, Hebert disagrees with Champy's comment that "bedrock values...simply appear in time of need." I can see what Champy's saying. I think most of us have some idea of Southwest Airline's culture as being born out of threats of failure as much as anything else - and it is during these rough times that a management team's values really show (probably especially true for small companies who are perpetually struggling to survive making the opportunities for delivering these symbolic messages ever present), I also agree with Hebert. Notes Hebert:

Nothing is "undeclared" and "appears" within a company. If a company has a value or shared belief there is someone or something reinforcing it. Whether it's the comments in the hallway, at meetings or to the press. Somehow the culture is being reinforced.

What ever you want your culture to be at your company - don't wait for it to appear. Make the effort and reward and recognize the behaviors that represent those values/beliefs.

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