Workplace Culture: Like Honey to the Bees
Workplaces are where we frequent, yet can you easily describe your workplace Culture? Is it aggressive, does it value stakeholders and are you personally ready to take on what challenges the firm faces? Are you an active bee in the hive, or are you struggling to find the honey and do you always feel like you're at a loss in the hive? This bee was busy and with a sprinkling of premium honey, hopefully Culture becomes something that we can open up and talk about. I really do hope you enjoy.
Culture (and it's not yoghurt)Organisational culture can rely on the written word, as much as it can the unwritten one. Culture says what the firm will accept... and what it will not. It doesn't necessarily mean that the firm has the right answer, however the firm has, through time and trial, determined its Culture. Culture shapes Policies and Procedures. Culture shapes our teamwork or disintegrates it. Culture can be symbols, dress codes, rituals and can be evident in decision-making, organisational structures and even bonus structures.
In defining our Culture, we look to our Founders
Culture arises from our Founders. However, it does not mean our Founders are to blame for every mistake in our Culture. Founders set the scene, with the best intention and (hopefully), with the most honour. You see, the Founders had a vision, whether it was to innovate, to delight or to satisfy a need.
If Founders continue through the life span of the firm, they will watch as the Culture adapts. As Executives come and go, Culture shifts and changes shape. The magic words of the charismatic CEO or the grandiose General Manager make ripples in the honey... causing consequences beyond the firm's control.
We can sugar-coat our Culture all we like... the fact is, actions speak louder than wordsWe'd all like to think that our firm has the answer. The truth is, many hidden secrets lay within the firm, waiting to be discovered. Some claims such as "we value our employees", "we have outstanding team players", and "we value our stakeholders" can be weak statements when actions speak louder than weak words and a toxic culture is rife. When we see toxic cultures, it's a given that the Whistleblower is within arm's reach. Phweettt!
Culture is meant to be a learning experience
In a firm that favours social reform, the Culture adapts over time and like a true learning organisation, the Culture becomes robust and healthy, not to mention a fierce competitor, with strategy that out-paces, out-wits and outlasts. In these firms, the Culture dominates - in a good way. It's a place we want to be. We go to work eager, we come home tired, yet happy that we made a significant dent. Our friends are green with envy.
Culture shapes us... we actually become by-products of our environmentWhether we willingly succumb, or we act the role of the bystander, the fact is, Culture shapes us. Acceptable norms, behaviours and the like are normally mimicked and sometimes, we may even exaggerate the organisational norms. If we're allowed to have fun and work hard, chances are, you've got our heart. However if you blindly ignore our struggles, then you will not.
Workplace culture is like honey to the beesWorkplace culture is our sustenance, it gives us strength and vitality when it's a premium brand, however when it is a generic brand, it does not satisfy and does not provide the sustenance that we need. In fact, no enticing by the bee, even the Queen Bee, will make us stay.
How does one define culture? A strong culture feeds the hungry bees, giving them sustenance and strength to face the hardest battles. Trust me when I say this, the workplace will actually fight for you. A weak culture sees bees move away to a better hive, the victors become the firm's competitors and the firm loses irreplaceable knowledge... forever.
The Biggest Mystery in Culture isPerhaps the biggest mystery in Culture is how to fix a broken Culture. Many a magician will enter the front door, bearing many gifts and many promises, but the fact is, only few will have the true answer.
Question time.... :)Have you ever experienced a good hive? What is the hive like at your workplace?
**Images by Blueguy, Shutterstock**