May 28, 2009

Preserving corporate culture for sustained growth

I'm doing some research regarding the importance of corporate culture and how to perserve a small business corporate culture while continuing to grow the business. While some may consider culture to be a bunch of mumbo jumbo, a strong corporate culture can really be critical to a businesses success and in particular to retaining top talent.

It is hard to maintain the culture as a business grows unless you commit to it's maintenance and that requires commitment from the top to the bottom. If the top doesn't commit to it, the bottom will see the job as nothing more than that, a job. Committing to your culture's maintenance can be a huge competitive advantage and can save the business alot of money. I encourage you to crunch the numbers; how much does it cost to keep an employee; and how much does it cost to hire a new employee? Make sure you include the softer costs of the new hire coming aboard - time it takes to get up to speed, potential risk associated with a 'misfit'.

Spend the time to clearly defining your corporate culture and rallying your employees to participate and contribute to it's continued existence. What does the culture mean to each individual employee? Based on that, what are they willing to do personally to help make sure the culture remains? Here's a tough question: how do you justify the need to change and evolve without inadvertently suggesting the culture needs to change? In that case, I suggest clearly defining the WIIFM's - What's in it for me for each person in the company. Smaller businesses must commit to that time and focus.

Here's the research I've pulled together. As with many of my posts, this will be a work in progress...

Recommended reading:
The Secret of a Winning Culture: Building High Performance Teams -
Good to Great, Jim Collins - For those who aren't familiar with this book, this is an executive mainstay on every bookshelf and Mr Collins just published a new book which is also listed here.
How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, Jim Collins
Inc Magazine: The Zappos Way of Managing, Max Chafkin - Great article published in the May 2009 issue on how committed Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos is to their corporate culture.

A Corporate Culture Worth Keeping - Small Business Guru blog
Corporate Culture Definition and more... -
Corporate Culture in Your Small Business video - Small Business TV

  1. Fun & love to come to work
  2. Teamwork (no cowboys)
  3. Allowed to take risks and fail
Corporate Culture: Can Your Company Think Differently And Tolerate Diversity? - Small Business Coaching and Transitions blog

Includes a list of Four Deadly Corporate Culture Mistakes

Small Business Corporate Culture - Ezine Articles

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