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CULTURAL GRAVITY: If You REALLY Want To Do Culture, You Should Dive Into Performance...

Some people love to talk about culture. Some people think culture is a vapor-based marketing gimmick. 

Me? I'm somewhere in the middle. I think culture is real, but I'm not sure how much control we have on it. I'm a marketer as well as an HR pro, so I respect the marketing aspect of culture and believe that companies should try to directionally guide the culture they're trying to build.

That being said, a bad manager can override whatever it is you're trying to build/sell culturally.  A great manager becomes their own solar system - developing a culture within their team that transcends whatever you're trying to build globally. 

I think culture is probably best delivered at the managerial level. That's why I think that anyone working on culture in a company has to look at the area of performance management.

Why is that?  Good managers have their own cultural gravity.  So do bad ones. The secret to pushing people for more performance is doing it in a way that incorporates balanced feedback. You tell someone what they are doing well, and you also tell them what they SHOULD be doing to get to the next level.

Deliver that feedback the wrong way and you look like Mussolini (look it up, kids).  Deliver it the right way and the employees that experience it don't give a s##t about your company events, communication, etc.

They don't care because they trust their boss - and that becomes the culture they know.

That's why you have to work on performance and the feedback loop if you're into culture. Avoid it at your own peril.


Kendra Caldarella

I don't disagree...If you love your manager, then you're generally happy at work. Communication, social events, etc. just build the bond and enrich the experience; the icing on the cake, but it helps set the overall tone of the culture. It just can't be the part that's relied on to drive culture.
To your point, culture should also be driven by choosing managers wisely, with culture in mind.

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