Archive for category Culture

CE#585: 10 Signs of Unhealthy Company Culture (OPEN Forum AMEX)

1. Playing favorites. Some employees have frequent contact with you, resulting in a strong bond. He or she pleased with you and your company. But others don’t get much support—coaching, mentoring or encouragement—from their managers and colleagues.

2. Bending the rules too much. As a caring boss, you make sure that employees have the time off and extra resources to tend to urgent personal needs. But many of your team members may be frustrated by the low productivity of these high-maintenance employees.

3. Employees fear taking risks. Your team members seem reluctant to introduce innovation, despite your encouragement to adopt new approaches. If you’ve blamed your employees for missteps when they made good-faith efforts to execute new initiatives, you haven’t adopted the right kind of caring.

4. Employees are defensive. Whenever you rightly point out an area that needs improvement or a problem that needs a remedy, employees react defensively. If honest dialogue is rare, then employees don’t feel supported enough to function effectively.

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CE#581: Fostering a Strong Company Culture (OPEN Forum AMEX)

Alexandra Levit Business Writers Recent Posts

May 16, 2012

Greg Smith, formerly of Goldman Sachs, recently wrote an op-ed in The New York Times about why he was leaving the company. The piece is an eloquent testament to how a strong culture affects organizations.

Goldman would probably prefer to block out this PR nightmare, but Smith put it out there:

“Culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.”

If Smith feels this way, you can bet that he’s not alone. The employee turnover is costing Goldman millions of dollars every year.

Company culture is defined as the values, attitudes and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization. It’s otherwise known as the “way things get done around here.”

Although culture is in vogue right now because of Smith’s account and others, its status as a major player in organizational success goes back decades. In the 1990s, Harvard Business School researchers James Heskett and John Kotter examined the corporate cultures of 200 companies. They assessed how each company’s culture affected its long-term economic performance.

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CE#518: A Good Culture May Save Your Life (OPEN Forum AMEX)

Alexandra Levit’s column explores workplace culture and building a better business. Published every Thursday.

If you have to get rushed to the hospital, you’d better hope it’s one where everyone is smiling, because according to 2011 research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, hospitals with strong cultures consistently report better patient outcomes.

I thought that care for heart attack victims was pretty standard in this country, but it turns out that’s not the case.  Patient death rates vary considerably, as much as twofold between the highest- and lowest-performing hospitals, and you’re more likely to survive in a hospital that has great team spirit.

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CE#515: To Supercharge Growth, Start By Tearing Down Silos (Fast Company)

When César García came to IRIS International 10 years ago, the company was on the ropes. The manufacturer of medical diagnostic products had a stale product line, flat revenues, and mounting debt.

García welcomed the challenge of a turnaround and in 2003, he became president and CEO of IRIS (International Remote Imaging Systems). He brought in a new management team. Secured debt refinancing. Pushed hard for new product development.

But García quickly concluded that the real problem was IRIS’s toxic company culture. It was a culture that kept its employees locked in silos and prevented the organization from seizing external opportunities.

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