Success leaves clues and so does its opposite. Reality checks are important so we can tell where we are and properly assess what needs to be done. When we can’t seem to find the clues indicating a successful culture it’s time to look for its opposite. Granted there can be many levels in between but how bad is it really, you might ask yourself. Well here are some clues and elements of a losing culture you might want to watch out for.
CAUTION: This may be painful to read.
We know it best Attitude
Often prevalent in once successful organizations, small or large, even countries the ‘We know it best Attitude’ is often an indictor of things to come. Knowing it best most often indicates that your culture thinks it has reached the top with nowhere else to grow into or expand into. When you stop learning you start dying. It’s as simple as that.
No Empathy and Bullying
When there is no empathy in your culture it’s an indicator of self-absorption and ego-centric behaviors. This inadvertently leads to a disconnect with your employees and customers and puts you on the track for decline sooner, if not later.
Bullying doesn’t end with employees and customers and can extend to include your vendors, suppliers and partners. See Apple versus Samsung for a prime, or not so prime, example.
Bullying among peers is often a sign of poor leadership skills and misalignment. The culture that allows this places importance on the individual above the group. When team members don’t get along it can attributed to poor hiring criteria and is made worse by weak leaders and a lack of alignment. All too often it’s all of the above.
Lack of clear targets, a vision, a purpose and values
Imagine a homeless person drifting along without any real purpose or goals and you might get the picture. Even when top management has developed a vision, purpose and values, few of them remember it much less cascade it to lower levels. Picture the blind leading the blind.
Lack of a Winning Attitude
The lack of a winning attitude indicates the presence of a losing attitude. You won’t need to look very hard to discover this one.
Lack of Alignment
When you find your team pulling in different directions, going after different targets, there couldn’t be a greater waste of energies and momentum.
Lack of Authenticity
A culture that is lacking truthfulness and authenticity is full of pretenses, lies, and smoke screens. People here tend to be good at dancing around the bush and nothing ever gets communicated clearly if at all, even when everyone’s lips are moving. I don’t know how people imagine anything real could ever, ever get accomplished with people b.s.’ing each other all the time, pretending and dancing around the real issues flapping their lisp with words coming out and nothing being communicated. This tends to be worse at or near the top of most organizations.
You can assess a company’s culture and future rather quickly just by looking at how much courage and authenticity there is on the top leadership team. Sorry, if you don’t want to hear this, but with little authenticity and likely even less courage (it takes courage to be authentic) your organization, team or company simply will not go anywhere fast, except maybe down the drain.
Lack of Trust
If your team won’t trust you and each other it won’t be long before your customers won’t either and your team and company will fall apart. So many times companies try to win the upper hand by removing value from their products in order to save money. No company was ever successful in the long term by savings. Savings that lower the quality of your product will always hurt you more than the customer. The customer can just switch to another product, but you will lose the customer forever. Think twice before you put your customers’ trust in you at stake. You and your brand will be on the losing end.
Lack of Inspiration
When you are not inspired, neither will be your team. But to truly inspire your team it will take more than just your own inspiration. If your team is not inspired you and your team are basically just idling along, people may still show up for their paychecks so they can pay the bills, but whom have you ever seen inspired by paying bills? Without inspiration first your overhead goes up than your company goes down. And who will pay for that…? You bet…
Lack of Integrity inevitably shows up in people not keeping their word. Working on a good enough level, giving excuses for whatever happens and simply being unreliable as their word is cheap, empty and meaningless. A culture without integrity or low levels of integrity where people say one thing and then do another is simply unreliable both internally and externally. Timeliness, quality of output, being & keeping your word are sample elements of a culture that values and respects integrity
And finally the number one reason for failing, losing and lackluster cultures: FEAR
Fear will stop your company, team, and goals in a heartbeat. Fear stops communication, it lowers authenticity and diminishes empathy. Fear eradicates confidence but necessitates courage. Fear will get rid of truth, kill any leftover trust and it will build the walls of pretense. It’s a killer of inspiration and motivation. Eventually it will kill the one thing most important to you… your company.
You think your team is fearless? In our experience with the world’s greatest companies, teams and leaders there has been not even one that was without fear. Varying degrees of it, yes, but not without it.
Winning cultures always start with the CEO and the top team. Let us start your cultural transformation by running your next Strategic Planning and Culture Transformation.
For more information on how to create that WINNING CULTURE please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author:
Bjorn Martinoff is the author of the just released book ‘Develop Exponential Power – Stop Chasing It and Let It Chase You” and the forthcoming book ‘Develop Exponential Growth’, Bjorn Martinoff, a leading Global CEO Coach is focusing on accelerating business results where it counts most for his clients, Bjorn has proven that human beings have infinite potential and discovered ways of developing that potential in his work with exponential growth. He has nearly two decades of experience in invigorating senior management teams and CEO coaching and has been referred to as Number One Global Executive Coach on the Global News Network – GNN. His Services include CEO Coaching, Strategic Executive Coaching for senior leaders and teams on National, Regional and Global levels. He personally works with Business Leaders on creating Business Breakthroughs as well as Turnarounds. His breakthrough work in Organization and People Development, Human Capital Solutions, Executive Performance and Sales and Marketing Has caught the attention of the world’s brightest and most successful. Providing transformation, coaching and organizational development solutions for many Global and Fortune 100′s he is a dynamo in turning things around as well as accelerating results with lightning speed.
Seen as the most effective success & results insurance money can buy, Bjorn has done work for Samsung, Dell, IBM, Unilab, Johnson & Johnson, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Infiniti, Porsche, Audi,VW, General Motors,Nissan, Maersk, Unilever in 11 countries, AVON, Pfizer, Kraft, Nestle in six countries, Lufthansa, Intel, La Farge, NCO Group, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Navitaire/Accenture, Twinings, Ovaltine, San Miguel Corporation, Bristol Myers Squibb, Mead-Johnson, Lufthansa, Citigroup, Sunpower, Speedo, ON Semicon(former Motorola), Cypress, Boehringer-Ingelheim, the Supreme Court of The Philippines,and many others
Bjorn lives with his wife and four children in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
He can be reached at email@example.com
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