What is corporate culture? How do you define it? And what difference does it make?
The informal definition that I like the best is:
“How we do things around here.”
You can have your fancy core values plastered on the walls or hanging from a badge on your pocket. But most employees have to look at them to tell you what they are. They do know, however, what the “unspoken values” are – or the things they need to do to fit in, to be successful, to get ahead, or stay out of trouble.
It can be a real problem when there’s a difference between the values on the wall and the values spoken in the hall.
It’s a problem because there’s a lack of integrity that’s like the elephant in the room and no one, in their right mind, will mention it.
Need I say more?
My last blog talked about companies cited in the 2001 book Good To Great and Wells Fargo was one of them. Unfortunately, the book goes on to extol the virtues of Wells Fargo, their innovation in revamping the “old banking mentality” and instilling rigor for increased profitability.
Fast forward to 2018 and Wells Fargo is a great example of what not to do. To increase profitability and meet unreasonable sales goals, employees were encouraged by management to create over 3 million fake accounts using existing customer accounts. In addition, mortgages were secretly modified, incurring increased costs to the borrower, car were illegally repossessed and a half million car loans were issued requiring unnecessary insurance coverage.
But wait! There’s more!
There are investigations into whether they overcharged small businesses using credit cards and selling dangerous investments they didn’t understand.
Despite all that – Many senior executives kept their cushy salaries and big bonuses and even retaliated against the workers who complained.
Wells Fargo had a culture of greed at all costs. Click here for a timeline of events.
Yet Wells Fargo’s Core Values are:
- What’s Right for the Customer
- People as a Competitive Advantage
- Diversity and Inclusion
Wow. Talk about Core Values gone amok.
It’s not just Wells Fargo. The behaviors that led to the #MeToo movement are another example of “how we do things around here.” There are varying degrees of greed and harassment in every industry and in many companies, most of which stems from an abuse of power and influence.
Fortunately, while most organizations aren’t plagued by these issues, honorable leaders who want a competitive advantage pay close attention to culture and integrity is a key ingredient.
When there is a lack of alignment between core values and “how we do things around here…” there’s no integrity.
When people, especially leaders, aren’t held accountable, there’s a lack of integrity.
Symptoms of a lack of integrity include when people are afraid to speak up or departments experience high turnover or absenteeism.
Real leaders understand that having a culture of integrity is everyone’s responsibility – from the board room to lunch room and they do what it takes to create a winning culture that works for all.
Marty Stanley, CSP, works with leaders and their teams who want a winning culture that sets them apart from the competition by creating a culture of accountability, alignment and integrity. She does this through rigorous coaching, expert facilitation and no nonsense training. Clients can expect to start seeing corporate-wide results in 3 – 4 months.
For a complimentary consultation, call Marty today: 816-695-5453
Watch this video to learn more about Marty’s Consulting Services