Communicating corporate culture
Key messages in this article:
• Culture is created by organisations combined values and beliefs –
• Culture at a local level is influenced by individuals – dept. managers/team leaders have a massive role in determining the culture of their departments – this needs to be consistent with the overall corporate culture.
• Physical Culture is determined by the workplace layout, but can influenced by adherence to dress codes etc.
• Values – Refer to the corporate and Brand Values
• Beliefs – Here Customer Advocacy and Role Modelling is key. The company's beliefs about its customers needs to be positive. Our beliefs about our targets need to be committed and enthusiastic to achieving them.
• Cultures change as the company evolves and matures – Power cultures are common in smaller organisations where the leader has a direct influence on all the people in it. A role culture develops as the company expands and the direct influence of the leader is less evident in all departments but can be rigid. In this article we’re looking to create an achievement and support culture combined. This mitigates the negative impacts of achievement culture – overly competitive and uncooperative. managers have a big responsibility and role to play here as shown below.
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A Manager's role is crucial in laying the ground for creating such culture. By providing support and giving their staff the answers and solutions they need to help customers.
Employees feeling very supported by their management team
Specialist/creative/genius - pushing and supporting staff, nurturing talents and directing them where they need to go
Encourage staff to invest more time into relationships with customers (Repeat customers - know them by name)
Getting staff's buy in that when they join the company, they are being part of something bigger that aims to change people's lives to the better.
There are 4 types of corporate cultures/customer organizations
Networked – (High Sociability, Low Solidarity) PR, Advertising, Marketing
Fragmented – (Low Sociability, Low Solidarity) Consulting, Production line work, Cutting edge Research etc
Mercenary – (Low Sociability, High Solidarity) Surgeons, RAF, Army, Navy, Pilots etc
Communal – (High Sociability, High Solidarity) Blue Chip organisations, Contact Centres, BA, Virgin, Marks and Spencer)
Highly sociable at the top levels of management, invites to functions seen as a reward as part of the in crowd. Can be too far removed from the ebb and flow of the business at ground level. Can create divisions of ‘them and us’ (management and workers)
People often working to own personal objectives (at expense of team objectives). Communication can be sporadic and on a needs basis. Limited sharing of best practice can be a consequence of sporadic communication.
There is a process for everything, and woe betide you if you do not know it. Self preservation, covering yourself for everything you do and making sure that you do it to your potential, but can be in isolation to the rest of the business or internal partners.
People tend to communicate often and openly. However this ease of communication can often lead to mixed messages or miscommunication (slips of the tongue, discrepancy between what is said and what is conveyed attitudinally). Can produce not only inaccurate information in the store but also complacency.
Actions for managers to develop the ideal culture in their departments and with their teams:
We are aiming here to :
a) build sociability
b) build solidarity
c) mitigate negatives of a communal culture.
To build Sociability:
- Increase social occasions
- Reduce formality
- Limit hierarchical differences, increase informality
- Recruit compatible people
- Take care of those in trouble
- Encourage sharing of ideas, emotions, interests
- Think about the physical layout
- Develop competitor awareness
- Create a sense of urgency
- Create common purpose and turn it into goals and targets
- Stimulate the will to win
- Set demanding standards
- Address poor performance
- Move people around
- Reward people for action related behaviours
- Celebrate success… and demand more!
To build Solidarity:
- Regular update meetings
- Goals and Objectives
- System of Performance Management
- Clear business goals and strategies
- Newsletters to staff with updates of pipeline deals, new business etc
- Knowledge Management library open to all members of staff
- Defined and documented processes for all departments and roles
- Defined and documented procedures for all departments and roles
- Clear escalation routes
- Clear disciplinary guidelines
- Clear messages on view for all to see, i.e. posters, vision statements etc
- Secondments to other departments
- Regular knowledge share sessions
To mitigate Communal Culture Negatives
- Always remember no one is perfect
- Always remember Weaknesses and Threats in your store’s SWOT Analysis
- Differentiate Beliefs from Performance
- People’s Performance is a major CSF ( Critical Success Factor ) Beliefs are not enough
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