Company Culture

Ten Common Misunderstandings About Good Company Culture

It has been brilliant to see company culture become such an important part of business, the business world is on the way to finally align company culture with company strategy

With that being said, there are important and common misunderstandings and misalignments that are important to call out and for people across your business to understand and then collaborate on to ensure these are addressed within your company. 

Staff turnover is not always a bad thing

Happy performing people will look to progress, whether this is in your business or with another business. Like most successful people, they will not want to miss another opportunity.

Mass staff turnover and original staff leaving are core signs there are deeper issues.

Keep an eye across the floor, especially keep an eye out for internal influencers leaving.

Company culture is built every day and is typically behaviour based.

It’s not just leaders and managers who create culture. Employee behaviours and actions when not being watched are as important as the guidance shown from senior titles.

Company culture has a heartbeat and will often beat faster or slower, if it beats in a specific direction for over a fortnight it is time to review.  Nothing should be left for more than two weeks. 

Good culture & scoring doesn’t mean everyone is happy

There are many times when good culture and high internal scores are bad workplaces for specific types of individuals, especially when individuals do not feel as connected to those who do.

A great place to work always has outliers. Not every employee will be a happy or productive place.  

People are complex

We regularly look to groups for safety or go off alone when unhappy or they feel unwanted or unsafe. Many will become distant to protect themselves or to further their career.

When team members are unsure they will retreat, this does not mean their loyalty should come into question.  

Psychological safety needs defining

As Google’s famous study showed Psychological safety is essential, understanding what motivates individuals is the hardest part and evolving this from me to we (individuals to teams to departments to companies) is a constant battle.

What makes me feel safe and needed, will be very different to you, despite the connections we may have built in the team, it always varies from person to person. Even if you have ran discover insights programmes or Myers Briggs programmes throughout teams personalities types rarely really get to the bottom of someone’s true motivations.

You cannot make everyone happy, however, you can create environments that everyone feels appreciated in their way, and let individuals know they are an important part of the team. 

Bad culture is bad behaviour on mass, Not true.

It can take one bad actor to change subcultures and then have a direct knock-on effect on your company culture and send ripples through companies.

It is how it is dealt with and as importantly, how your teams react and build resilience.  

Toxicity doesn’t have to come from groups of people

Some individuals are toxic and it can take a long time to undercover it.

Some people will act badly, they will speak out and attempt to influence as many people as possible. This is part of human behaviour (for every hero there is a villain) however we should not be an accepted behaviour or tolerated. 

Performance vs culture will be at odds on many occasions and that can be ok. 

When teams are not connected or have different sets of rules and goals they will create a ‘them vs us’ environment.

This is tribal.
We are tribal.

Sometimes this has large benefits to performance. 

Over-communication is not smart

It’s overloading communications. Over communicating leads to many problems, too much information is shared, it becomes hard for groups to understand and align across the business.

Humans were build for boundaries (our land not our land), flags (this is the flag I represent, follow and fight for) and uniform (this is the colour I wear and represent in), it has to be simple, clear and have a guiding symbol 

Expectations are always different.

Managers need to be able to wear different hats. There are individuals who are conditioned for hard managers and being led means the alpha leads who rule with an iron fist and zero challenges. Others are often shown and taught that politics is the only way to progress.

This particularly manifests in middle management and will take generations to change.

Many nationalities and cultures are still alpha led and will trust and follow alpha leaders blindly.

When you are looking to implement a company culture project, consider how you include these 10 points and how you have these mapped out.

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