Big Red Car here. Oh, the wonders of being in the ATX and all of its almost unlimited glory. Sorry to make you feel bad, Old Sport, particularly if YOU do not live in the ATX. But so is life.
On Earth as it is in Texas.
The face of Company Culture
In talking about and musing about [Haha, the MUSINGS of the Big Red Car, ya’ll! Haha, you crack yourself up, Big Red Car.] Company Culture, it is important to focus on how the Company Culture makes the folks feel and how they perceive its applicability to their individual situation.
Does the Company Culture really reach into the lives of your folks or is it purely superficial? Of course, you want to be able to say that it delves deeply into the lives of your folks and that it weaves their lives into the fabric of the company. Is this true? Maybe, maybe not.
The Big Red Car likes to think of the form of a company being like a Persian carpet with a strong base, a woven body and a lovely face.
A Company Culture and a company itself are exactly like this with the Company Culture being the woven body which attaches the strong base — VISION, MISSION, STRATEGY, TACTICS, OBJECTIVES, VALUES, CULTURE — to the lovely public face of the company.
This face is both inward facing and outward facing. The cultural implications are primarily concerned with the inward face.
How does the Company Culture actually impact your folks.
The Company Culture is flavored by policy. In many instances, these policies are obvious and apparent in such things as “benefits” which are either below, above or at the average. This is a set of discrete decisions many simply requiring the allocation of funding to support their initiation.
Make no mistake, these policy decisions are an important consideration in determining and defining a robust Company Culture. You cannot fake good benefits.
Better, or above average, health insurance coverage costs money. No surprise there.
Other similar policy decisions are not as apparent and we discuss some of them today.
Policies which indicate a high regard for people
Here are some specific investments in people which a company can make and which will ultimately have a real impact with the folks.
1. The most important one is simply honest and forthright communication in which the CEO is engaged with the team and provides keen, timely and detailed insights into the fortunes of the company. This is the low hanging fruit.
2. Training is an important investment in the team whether it is internal formal training in which the company itself trains the team or it is external training.
Internal training which is well designed and uses modern and formal training tools is a credit to the company and a boon to the employee. It highlights the importance of their individual contribution to the company’s fortunes.
As an example of effective external training, The Boss used to send all of his executives to the Chester Karass Negotiating Seminar — a not inexpensive undertaking. This negotiation training, arguably the best available, is an asset which ultimately belongs to the individual. The company makes good use of it in its business when used effectively but it is ultimately a valuable skill that belongs exclusively to the individual.
3. Mentoring, advising, coaching at every level is indicative of an investment in the human capital of a company and as such places great value on the future potential of existing team members. It is an investment in the context that it often does not bear immediate fruit but will be plucked and savored in the future.
Take a look at Mentoring, a Case Study. This is a real world example of how an investment in an individual bears fruit but is also part of a robust Company Culture.
Done well, this requires time and a concentrated effort over a long period of time. The folks see and recognize this and appreciate it. You cannot fake it.
4. Staying in touch with contemporary thinking in the development of business theory and practice is a way to invest in people and the improving effectiveness of any company. It requires the company to prod the individual to read the contemporary literature.
It is not enough to just breeze through the books but rather to employ their useful ideas in actually running the company. In this manner, the individual is brought into the design of the company’s policies and operating decisions. A powerful glue to bind everyone to a common goal.
This list could on a bit longer with no real additional effort but you are getting the idea, are you not, Grasshopper?
A company’s investment in its people is an indication of a robust Company Culture. It literally binds the individual to the company. This is not just theory.
But, hey, what the Hell do I know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car!