What is it like at your organization? Do you feel you can ask questions of and raise issues with your boss without recrimination? Are you able to speak openly and make suggestions as ideas are presented in meetings? Is constructive debate encouraged and rewarded?
These are questions that highlight the openness of communication at a company. Where free and easy communication is the norm, ideas are exchanged and evaluated comfortably until the best one is agreed upon. Where communication is closed, decisions are made unilaterally and often arbitrarily. Where would you rather work?
In fact our recent Organizational Alignment Research of 410 companies across eight industriess identified the timely and open flow of communication as one of the top seven factors that creates organizational alignment, higher profits, faster growth, more satisfied customers and higher employee engagement. In highly aligned companies, 81% agreed or strongly agreed that information flow was timely. In lower performing companies, only 6% agreed.
Most of us would choose the open, collaborative culture. Culture is how things truly get done in an organization. It can be measured by understanding the way people think, behave and work. This includes the values and assumptions that enable key behaviors and practices.
What might be the consequences of a culture that is closed and toxic? We only need to look at a company that has recently been in the news for its illegal practices and see if we can find seeds of the problem in the culture that existed there.
Early in the fall of 2015, Volkswagen was the target of an emissions scandal in which the company admitted to cheating on U.S. air pollutions tests. The question now is who was responsible for the decisions that led to the cheating.
The CEO when the scandal hit the news, Martin Winterkorn, has since resigned but has not taken responsibility for the illegal actions. His resignation was made, he says, in the interests of the company “even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part.”
Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt as to whether or not he was privy to the decisions made to fake emissions testing, we can hold him responsible for the culture he allowed to pervade the organization. The new CEO has stated that it is “very, very clear” that their 600,000 people worldwide have to be managed in a different way.
VW now talks about how they need to create a high performance organizational culture where problems are not hidden but can be openly discussed; where there is no fear in questioning superiors; and where there is far less pressure from an authoritarian leader to perform without appropriate inquiry.
There is no doubt that Winterkorn was a strong leader with great ambitions for his company. He wanted to make VW the world’s biggest carmaker. But his management style reportedly could be unforgiving, overly demanding and remote. Apparently, he could be disrespectful of other VW executives and would often lose his temper when bad news was reported. Reports are surfacing that there was a pervading sense of fear if called to his office. Overall it appears he was unapproachable and apparently closed to debate.
The VW culture was just the opposite of an open atmosphere and the consequences were earth shaking to a brand that had always commanded respect. With closed doors and closed minds, no one in the chain of command raised the questions that might have steered the emissions software in another, more legal direction. Time will tell if and whether VW can survive and create a high performance corporate culture that encourages the free and healthy exchange of ideas.
To learn more about defining an aligned and high performing culture, download How to Build a Purposeful and Aligned Corporate Culture.
We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.
Director of Global Recruiting
LSA has added tremendous value and intellectual rigor to help take us to the next level. They have been a training outsourcing goldmine for us. Their flexibility, expertise, and speed has been extraordinary. I am a big fan and recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business value.
Global Financial Services Company
Director, Organizational Effectiveness
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.
Vice President, Human Resources
LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!
Director of HR
For past year LSA has provided development to a group of key individuals at our manufacturing plant who author and review technical reports. The feedback from the sessions has been extremely positive. We have seen marked improvement in the quality of output from the attendees who have taken the program. I can strongly recommend the services that LSA provides. Their facilitators are top notch and the programs are high quality. LSA offers some of the most comprehensive full service solutions available.
Leading Global Health Care Company
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
The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.
Firmware Engineering 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.
HR Program Manager
Our relationship with LSA has been fantastic. We actually brag about their business value all the time. Their flexibility, focus, and ability to continuously deliver true results has been extremely refreshing and different than any other training outsourcing firm we have engaged.
Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
Senior Vice President Learning & Development
LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.
Because of the unique nature of our business, Excel is a core application in our accounting organization. After three attempts to find an Excel consultant who is capable of helping our finance team integrate advanced applications into our work processes we found LSA and Alex. He was not only a “Real” Excel expert but was masterful in helping us identify where to use Excel applications in our processes to increase our group’s efficiency.
SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO
We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.
Vice President Human Resources
I’ve partnered with LSA Global at two companies now, and I consider them a valuable and trusted training and consulting resource. They recommended just the right solution to address our management development needs and have wonderful facilitators that match YuMe’s culture and style of our management team. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions with a valuable learning and development partner.
Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.
Senior Project Manager
I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.
Director, Team Development
We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.
Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager
Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.
Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations? Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.
Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.
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.
Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.
Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.