Culture Myths About Values Can Hinder Growth
Corporate culture myths related to values are not hard to find. Organizational culture may be closely related (or should be) to corporate values, but there is a lot of misunderstanding out there about how culture and values work together.
The Definition of Corporate Values
Corporate values are the compass that guides decisions and the sense of what is right and wrong at your company. Values are your company’s fundamental beliefs and are often written in manuals for new employees to read when they first come aboard. Corporate values form the foundation of a health culture.
The Definition of Corporate Culture
Culture, on the other hand, is how things truly get done in an organization. Workplace culture is an intangible that can only be measured by understanding the way people think, behave and work.
Three Common Corporate Culture Myths Related to Values
Here are three corporate culture myths about the relationship between culture and values:
Consider the situation at Enron. The company had a very clear, but lengthy, statement of corporate values that was all about acting with integrity, respect and excellence. But, instead, the Enron organizational culture valued and promoted greed. So when decisions were made, it was more often the profit-motive that drove actions rather than the more high-minded values.
He was so committed to creating this environment of customer and employee satisfaction that he offered $2,000 to any new employee who wanted to leave after a trial period if they did not subscribe to the Zappos culture. Only after the culture was well established did he, at the request of his employees, look toward defining corporate values.
And who did he go to for the values? His employees created them. It is always smart to have your stakeholders actively involved in any desired change.
And, when companies are small, most decision making is rightfully made by either one individual or a small group of centralized leaders. As companies grow, front line individuals often must become empowered to make decisions quickly and on their own.
How and where you make decisions can have a big impact on your corporate culture.
The Bottom Line
Workplace culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies. Smart leaders do not let culture myths about values hinder their ability to align their culture with their business and people strategies.
To learn more about how to get the most out of your culture, download The 3 Levels of Culture that You Must Get Right to Create Higher Performance
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