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dissonance

Culture: The set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes an institution, organisation or group.

 Culture: “The way we do things around here”

 Your business culture encapsulates every aspect of your organisation. Innumerable volumes have been and continue to be written about Corporate Culture. The very subject has fascinated us from the beginning. Because humans constantly evolve, culture in all its disguises requires continual study and observation. Every time civilization advances, so does our culture.

Your corporate culture defines you, both internally and to the wider world. When it’s poor, it will come to reflect on your brand. It will bite you in the ass.

Looking at iconic modern brands, such as Google, you see and feel their culture in everything they do. This doesn’t happen by accident; it’s been shaped over time, through positive and consistent action of the people running the show. Cultural consistency has permeated the whole organisation, and radiates outward, to their customers and the public at large.

Conversely when you think of the culture in a parastatal organization such as Eskom, you think of it as inefficient and wasteful. This is usually the result of a confused and undirected internal culture, typical of the disconnect between old-school hierarchical management structures, and the worker bees at the sharp-end of the business.

There was a time when consumers didn’t care too much about the process by which they came to be drinking your cola or wearing your sneakers. Not so today. Consumers want a sense of your culture, your values, and what you stand for, because they’re now acutely aware that if they support your brand, they become a part of your culture; ‘cool by association’ if you will. In the Social Business age, customers are entirely comfortable to be a part of and represent your culture, in support of your business or brand.

Cultural Dissonance

Your mission statement says (a variant of):

“We are customer-centric and constantly strive to solve the needs of our customer”

However, if you were able to eavesdrop on every conversation going on inside your Company, it might startle you to hear the sales manager making negative statements about customers. Imagine bringing a new employee into such an environment. Your young salesman arrives, he’s read the “Welcome Pack” he was given by HR on arrival, outlining the general do’s and don’ts, and a representation of the culture that is supposed to exist. Right away he runs straight into the attitude of the sales manager.

He can see immediately that this runs contrary to the mission statement he has read but there is zero chance he will take this up.  It’s too risky. Rather blend in. The new salesman takes on the same attitude, and he’s now part of that ‘alternative’ unsanctioned culture. “That’s how we do things around here.”

A culture is what happens on the ground, and culture happens with or without guidance or direction; it’s going to happen anyway. If you allow it to grow unguided, you’ll end up with a culture that is haphazard, disjointed and unpleasant.

Culture is driven from the top. Much of the prevailing corporate culture is rooted in 19th century industrialization. Hierarchy, pressure, and results are the three pillars of out-dated corporate culture. Of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting results; after all it’s why you are in business in the first place. But Results will lag if built on these redundant industrial underpinnings, rather than modern social business thinking.

The outmoded culture of success is one of fear. It’s hardly surprising that it’s so prevalent – it’s been standard operating procedure for over a century.

This is a culture loved by nobody, ever. Perhaps it worked once and perhaps you are still getting some results. But make no mistake, in this new paradigm, the erosion of that business has already started.

If a corporate culture is going to be created, then obviously it makes sense to create one that everyone loves. This is the business equivalent of the meme “it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.” Building a culture that’s based on mutual benefit has an infinitely greater chance of success.

Passion into Action

Your corporate culture evolves through the actions that the leadership initiates. Get it right, and you’ll have something real to put on your Mission Statement. No longer bound up in platitudes and empty promises, your Mission Statement will become a living document, a reflection of the real beliefs and attitudes of yourself, your employees, and your customers or clients.

A Culture Your Customers Love

Creating the right positive culture will define your customer experience. When customers interact with a brand that has a positive culture, it’s palpable. You instantly want to be a part of it.

So, what is a culture your customers will love? The details may vary from business to business, but in the social business age, your customer wants to believe they matter, and that you share their values.

One way to think of what culture your customers would love is to think of your business with maybe five customers. Your very existence depended on those few important customers, and you would have done just about anything to make sure they were happy. Those five customers became ten, then one hundred, and eventually, even a thousand or more. Somewhere along the way, it became harder to focus on their individual needs. So you hired more people and introduced systems and policies. Did you perhaps lose some of that early customer focus as well? You certainly couldn’t speak to everyone individually anymore. You were forced to delegate this for others to do, but they may not have shared your passion, and this diminished passion was passed on to customers. And so it goes!

Retrace your steps and get back to that customer-focused passion they loved so much.

A Culture Your Employees Love

An internal culture that employees love is something that is so often overlooked. Perhaps in the eighties and nineties, internal passion could be faked or mechanically replicated, but in the new age of social business that’s now impossible, because every part of your business has a marketing or public impact. Each customer touch-point in your business is subject to unrelenting external scrutiny.

So, what is a culture your employees will love? Essentially, it is one in which every person feels they are making a contribution. Despite apparent self-serving motives, they want to feel they are part of something important, and their jobs have meaning and purpose. They also want to feel they are trusted to make that contribution.

The greatest asset of your business is your workforce. Successful businesses the world over are coming to this realization and building it into their DNA.

It is this internal culture that extends out and informs the customer experience.

It is consistency in their (your) action, not words, that creates the culture. In the beginning, you may, of course, run smack into scepticism and doubt. It’s a natural consequence of the change process, and it’s only with persistence in action that you can turn the doubt and scepticism into shared passion and belief.

Real and persistent passion, excitement, and enthusiasm are contagious and spread very quickly.

When this passion and enthusiasm are sustained, momentum grows and soon overrides and convinces the naysayers and doubters. A culture your employees love will very quickly become one that your customers love too. And when you have that, you will love it.

Culture: The set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes an institution, organisation or group.

 Culture: “The way we do things around here”

 Your business culture encapsulates every aspect of your organisation. Innumerable volumes have been and continue to be written about Corporate Culture. The very subject has fascinated us from the beginning. Because humans constantly evolve, culture in all its disguises requires continual study and observation. Every time civilization advances, so does our culture.

Your corporate culture defines you, both internally and to the wider world. When it’s poor, it will come to reflect on your brand. It will bite you in the ass.

Looking at iconic modern brands, such as Google, you see and feel their culture in everything they do. This doesn’t happen by accident; it’s been shaped over time, through positive and consistent action of the people running the show. Cultural consistency has permeated the whole organisation, and radiates outward, to their customers and the public at large.

Conversely when you think of the culture in a parastatal organization such as Eskom, you think of it as inefficient and wasteful. This is usually the result of a confused and undirected internal culture, typical of the disconnect between old-school hierarchical management structures, and the worker bees at the sharp-end of the business.

There was a time when consumers didn’t care too much about the process by which they came to be drinking your cola or wearing your sneakers. Not so today. Consumers want a sense of your culture, your values, and what you stand for, because they’re now acutely aware that if they support your brand, they become a part of your culture; ‘cool by association’ if you will. In the Social Business age, customers are entirely comfortable to be a part of and represent your culture, in support of your business or brand.

Cultural Dissonance

Your mission statement says (a variant of):

“We are customer-centric and constantly strive to solve the needs of our customer”

However, if you were able to eavesdrop on every conversation going on inside your Company, it might startle you to hear the sales manager making negative statements about customers. Imagine bringing a new employee into such an environment. Your young salesman arrives, he’s read the “Welcome Pack” he was given by HR on arrival, outlining the general do’s and don’ts, and a representation of the culture that is supposed to exist. Right away he runs straight into the attitude of the sales manager.

He can see immediately that this runs contrary to the mission statement he has read but there is zero chance he will take this up.  It’s too risky. Rather blend in. The new salesman takes on the same attitude, and he’s now part of that ‘alternative’ unsanctioned culture. “That’s how we do things around here.”

A culture is what happens on the ground, and culture happens with or without guidance or direction; it’s going to happen anyway. If you allow it to grow unguided, you’ll end up with a culture that is haphazard, disjointed and unpleasant.

Culture is driven from the top. Much of the prevailing corporate culture is rooted in 19th century industrialization. Hierarchy, pressure, and results are the three pillars of out-dated corporate culture. Of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting results; after all it’s why you are in business in the first place. But Results will lag if built on these redundant industrial underpinnings, rather than modern social business thinking.

The outmoded culture of success is one of fear. It’s hardly surprising that it’s so prevalent – it’s been standard operating procedure for over a century.

This is a culture loved by nobody, ever. Perhaps it worked once and perhaps you are still getting some results. But make no mistake, in this new paradigm, the erosion of that business has already started.

If a corporate culture is going to be created, then obviously it makes sense to create one that everyone loves. This is the business equivalent of the meme “it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.” Building a culture that’s based on mutual benefit has an infinitely greater chance of success.

Passion into Action

Your corporate culture evolves through the actions that the leadership initiates. Get it right, and you’ll have something real to put on your Mission Statement. No longer bound up in platitudes and empty promises, your Mission Statement will become a living document, a reflection of the real beliefs and attitudes of yourself, your employees, and your customers or clients.

A Culture Your Customers Love

Creating the right positive culture will define your customer experience. When customers interact with a brand that has a positive culture, it’s palpable. You instantly want to be a part of it.

So, what is a culture your customers will love? The details may vary from business to business, but in the social business age, your customer wants to believe they matter, and that you share their values.

One way to think of what culture your customers would love is to think of your business with maybe five customers. Your very existence depended on those few important customers, and you would have done just about anything to make sure they were happy. Those five customers became ten, then one hundred, and eventually, even a thousand or more. Somewhere along the way, it became harder to focus on their individual needs. So you hired more people and introduced systems and policies. Did you perhaps lose some of that early customer focus as well? You certainly couldn’t speak to everyone individually anymore. You were forced to delegate this for others to do, but they may not have shared your passion, and this diminished passion was passed on to customers. And so it goes!

Retrace your steps and get back to that customer-focused passion they loved so much.

A Culture Your Employees Love

An internal culture that employees love is something that is so often overlooked. Perhaps in the eighties and nineties, internal passion could be faked or mechanically replicated, but in the new age of social business that’s now impossible, because every part of your business has a marketing or public impact. Each customer touch-point in your business is subject to unrelenting external scrutiny.

So, what is a culture your employees will love? Essentially, it is one in which every person feels they are making a contribution. Despite apparent self-serving motives, they want to feel they are part of something important, and their jobs have meaning and purpose. They also want to feel they are trusted to make that contribution.

The greatest asset of your business is your workforce. Successful businesses the world over are coming to this realization and building it into their DNA.

It is this internal culture that extends out and informs the customer experience.

It is consistency in their (your) action, not words, that creates the culture. In the beginning, you may, of course, run smack into scepticism and doubt. It’s a natural consequence of the change process, and it’s only with persistence in action that you can turn the doubt and scepticism into shared passion and belief.

Real and persistent passion, excitement, and enthusiasm are contagious and spread very quickly.

When this passion and enthusiasm are sustained, momentum grows and soon overrides and convinces the naysayers and doubters. A culture your employees love will very quickly become one that your customers love too. And when you have that, you will love it.

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