wardell books

Corporate Cultural Systems

Culture is reflected in our attitudes, but our attitudes are affected by our environment. Therefore, to impact your corporate culture, you need to create an environment that supports and reflects your desired attitudes. Revisit your Statement of Values. Does it still reflect the culture that you want for your business?

Your corporate cultural systems are your tools for shaping that environment. They keep your important social traditions alive, plus they provide a vehicle for improving them or adding new ones.

In reality, your corporate culture should be considered when designing any of your systems. Here, however, we’ll confine ourselves to those systems that impact it directly.

You already know that there's a culture that exists in your business. There are parts of it that you love, and parts that you would love to do without. Consciously watch for positive aspects of culture in your business. Build systems that support and encourage those aspects when you discover them. At Wardell, we have an annual bocce ball tournament among our staff. We've seen it grow into a fantastic team-building event. Rather than hope we remember every summer, we built a system that reminds us to plan and hold the tournament. The idea is to capture and reinforce the positive culture that naturally springs up in your business.

Your corporate culture will reflect itself in your employees’ attitudes toward each other, their jobs, and your company. Monitor it carefully. Its effects are often subtle, yet powerful.

What can you do to encourage the culture you want to develop in your business?

Measuring Corporate Culture Can Be Very Difficult. You Want to Focus on:

  1. The quality of the relationships – What are the relationships like in your company, both vertically and horizontally? Do your leaders treat each other with respect? Do they treat those they are responsible for with respect? How do your shop floor employees treat their managers? How do they treat you? Are people generally appreciative and helpful? Do people laugh and smile when they are at work?

  2. The quality of commitments– What level of respect is given to a promise in your organization? Are promises made and kept? Do people show up on time for meetings? If they are unable to keep a commitment, do they let others know well in advance?

  3. The quality of delivery inside your organization - Really, this is also about the quality of commitments within your organization. When you have products or services that do not ship on time, or which are defective, it can be a sign that there's a problem with your corporate culture.

  4. Continuous Improvement - Are the individuals in your company consistently and systematically looking for ways to make things better? Are new ideas generated spontaneously from all levels of the organization?

Of course, these things are difficult to measure, but they're worth thinking about even if you are just making an assessment yourself. It would also help to have your staff assess those same things. Other gauges you can use as corporate culture health indicators are things like turnover, amount of sick days/absenteeism, attendance at company events and tardiness.