Corporate culture is extremely important for a growing business. Larger companies that have been around for a while understand its importance. Even some smaller companies that have been around for a long time understand it. That said, you are probably wondering why I am even writing about it if everyone understands it. Truth is not everyone does understand the importance of corporate culture. In fact, some do not know what it is.
What is corporate culture?
“Corporate culture refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature. Corporate culture is rooted in an organization’s goals, strategies, structure, and approaches to labor, customers, investors, and the greater community.” (Inc. Magazine, “Corporate Culture”, http://www.inc.com/encyclopedia/corporate-culture.html)
In essence, corporate culture is the values and belief systems that are intrinsically integrated into how a company is operated on a daily basis. These values are woven into how they not only treat their customer base but also their employees, their business partners, including vendors, and the community.
In my career, I have had the privilege of working for some really great people who exuded excellent values. They were largely family-centric and while they all may not have been devout Christians, for the most part, they held to the fundamental biblical teaching that we should love our brother as our self and that we should treat people how we want to be treated.
Take the mom and pop who owns the computer store where I got my start in the information technology arena. They knew that they were a small, family business. And, as much as they did not treat it as a small business, they held tightly to maintaining a family-oriented environment. In fact, it’s who they were. They came from a close knit family and had a close knit family of their own. So, it was natural that this rubbed off on to the culture or the atmosphere of their business environment. I can remember when new customers would walk in the door; they received the same treatment as if they had been lifelong customers. And, the few of who worked there, always felt like we were a part of the mom and pop’s actual family.
More recently, I spent the past 12 years working for another family-owned business. Although theirs was much larger than my previous example, and they had revenues that were millions more, they too had a very similar corporate culture. There office environment was, at most times, a great place to be. When it was not a great place to be, it was still a good environment. The owners insisted on having a work environment that was stress and conflict-free. They built upon the values that they themselves lived in their personal lives and held to. Values like family, love, trust, commitment to each other and commitment to your surrounding community.
In both of these work places, although work got done, going to work was a pleasurable. And, working for both of these companies left me with a valuable experience. What was it? It’s that creating an environment where people love to come is just as much important as the work you do.
What’s your corporate culture?
Your corporate culture is defined by your values and belief systems. If your values are flawed, so too will be your culture. How can tell what your corporate culture is? Spend time with your employees or business partners to find out. You want to know that doing business with you is not only easy but it’s also enjoyable.