There’s a great deal of buzz on Wall Street and in the news these days surrounding the performance of the stock market. While those with short-term investments look on their accounts with trepidation, those with a longer-range perspective see this as a chance to purchase more stocks at a lower price, thus increasing the volume of their portfolio and the compounding of investment value by virtue of that volume.
For leaders in business, there is a different type of investment that has the potential to pay off, both in the short term and in the long term. That is an investment in the culture of the organization.
There are thousands of articles online and in print about culture. It is the subject of executive meetings and board meetings. And yet, few truly understand what it is and its potential impact on an organization.
The easiest way to define culture is to go back to fifth grade science class. Remember the petri dishes? Those contained a culture which promoted cell growth.
Things haven’t changed much since fifth grade when it comes to culture – culture still promotes growth. Culture is an environment conducive to growth.
Business leaders are responsible for the growth of their respective organizations – and that means they must create a culture that will promote and sustain that growth.
What needs to be in your business petri dish?
There must be an environment that allows for development of ideas. You need creative minds on your team and people who can think beyond today or this quarter or even this year. You need people who think beyond the horizon. In large corporations, this type of individual is usually considered a rogue, a non-compliant. While company policies matter a great deal, there also needs to be a level of freedom where creative ideas can be expressed and explored. If your meetings are based solely on reporting of last quarter, and planning for the next, your investments are not going to perform as you had hoped for the long term. In fact, it is likely that those you have invested in will go elsewhere.
Values are the foundation for growth. People who share the same values fight as one unit. The fact is, values create movements…and movements create industry.
For people to do their best work, there must be trust…trust amongst employees and trust between leaders and employees. You earn your employees’ trust by caring for them as individuals and treating them with respect.
Teamwork creates a culture of compatibility, where everyone brings their individual talents and experience to the table, and all work together to serve one common goal. Teamwork requires communication and valuing the strengths of each person on the team. It’s about recognizing the expert in every position. This is true of business today more than ever – there is a great deal more collaboration required.
Just as an investor reviews his or her portfolio, it is wise to review your investment in people and in the culture of your organization on a regular basis.