2 Ways Corporate Culture Can Be Harmful…Brought to You by United Airlines

A short-sighted man is using binoculars to read showing how you need to look at the long-term view for a healthy corporate culture

We know how much corporate culture matters to the success of an organization. Our organizational alignment research at more than 400 companies across eight industries found cultural factors account for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of growth, profitability, customer satisfaction, customer retention, leadership effectiveness and employee engagement. Yes, for sure, workplace culture matters.

We define corporate culture as the way work actually gets done in an organization on a day-to-day basis. It includes the overall purpose of a company’s workforce and their collective attitude, assumptions and behaviors. When company culture is aligned with company talent and business strategy, you have an unbeatable combination of factors that drive success.

But there is a risk in being too rigid in the way culture is defined and interpreted.

Here are two ways culture can be harmful. You only need to look at United Airlines’ recent disastrous negative publicity to see how they blew it.

  1. Too much fine print
    From the recent reports, it appears United Airlines relied too much on “policy” guidelines that were overly complicated and confusing. It seems the company expected employees to follow policy no matter what. If you have ever stood at a customer service counter with a legitimate complaint and been told “it’s our policy,” you know how inadequate that explanation can be.In United’s case two teenagers were denied their flight because of “inappropriate” attire…leggings for heaven’s sake! And just two weeks later, a passenger was dragged off the plane (and injured in the process) as a result of the airline’s policy of overbooking seats. Employees were so-called “prisoners” of ill-conceived and inadequately explained policies; they made poor decisions that hit the headlines and dramatically hurt the organization in the public eye.Make sure your culture does not allow leaders to create an environment where employees feel like they must:

    • Refer to rules and procedures to justify their actions
    • Do things the way they’ve always been done
    • Accept the “status quo” by default
    • Dismiss new ideas as irrelevant or too “different”
    • Conform and “fit in”
    • Give the appearance they’re conforming (even when trying something new or different)
    • Strictly adhere to policies and standard operating procedures without question
    • Focus on procedures rather than outcomes
  2. Too little employee discretion
    A strong, positive corporate culture should help employees make the right decisions in both low and high stress situations. If common sense had been at work, as well as the flexibility for employees to make humane and reasonable decisions, neither of these situations would have occurred. The teenagers would have been granted their seats and the overbooking would have been handled without the use of physical force.

To thrive, we believe companies need to simplify their stated policies, support examples of the positive ways these guidelines are to be followed, and give their employees enough discretion to carry them out in a way that is in the best interests of the customer and the organization.

A company’s cultural goal should be to empower employees to serve their customers without having to read the fine print of company policy or without being afraid of “doing the right thing.”

To learn more about creating a high performance and purposeful culture, download The 3 “C’s” that Create High Performance Culture Whitepaper

 

 

Share:
Facebook Twitter Google+ Email LinkedIn

Comments are closed.

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

What a refreshing change from the half-baked psycho-babble you normally get from “training” organizations. LSA gives you the assistance you need to define and reach your goal, and then they give you a results driven plan – not just a temporary fix. They are great to work with, and even more importantly, they “get it!”

David Fiano
Vice President Human Resources

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people in the areas of performance coaching, diversity, and inclusion. They focused on helping us succeed and were very flexible in meeting our specific needs. LSA Global exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and value standpoint. I would recommend LSA Global to anyone looking for a true business partner.

Anita Luckinbill
Director, Human Resources

We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

Linda Mitchell
Training Manager

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

I highly recommend LSA Global to anyone who is looking to improve individual or organizational effectiveness through their top quality programs and broad range of expertise.

Greg Pappas
VP of Human Resources

Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.

Frank Abbott
Chief Financial Officer

Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

Janice Passarello
Director of Human Resources

Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.

Gina Fulton
Vice President of Human Resources

LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
VP of Human Resources

LSA has become the gold standard in team building and management training at Genomic Health! I have a hard time finding facilitators that come close to their level of customization, expertise and experience.

Emily Couey
Director of Human Resources

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More