Last week revealed that one of our major institutions is under scrutiny regarding its culture, yet another example in a long line of once-revered organisations who have failed the acid test of public opinion.
In an era where large organisations have struggled to repair the damage caused by the Global Financial Crisis almost a decade ago, their relationships with people have steadily declined and the prospects of it returning to some sort of healthy level seem remote.
A number of strategic moves have been attempted, public statements concerning their intention to get closer to their customers and people, expensive advertising, the distribution of glossy brochures to confirm their rock sold intention to do better. All evidence points to a collective failure to undo the perception that many organisations cannot be trusted.
Traditionally these organisations have been held in such esteem educationists have used them as examples of good practice to be followed in operating or start-up business, that appears to be at an end.
Speaking as a management practitioner of many years standing I know this to be true as participants in a variety of situations scoff at the idea they should follow these teachings.
For the small to medium businesses, it has made the task of building culture extremely difficult with countless reference to the misdemeanours of their bigger counterparts.
So what could be the path ahead?
I am reminded of a famous song by the group Fleetwood Mac, “Go your own way”, it for me seems to be fitting.
Although I am advocating building a culture on your own terms it comes with certain responsibilities:
1) To examine past failures as discussed above, examine how they can be avoided.
2) Establish “Buy-In” from all who are involved’, work with doubters. And if those people cannot be convinced “move them along”. This issue is too critical to be derailed.
3) Adopt a healthy happy environment in your organisation, engender an optimistic attitude, distinct from perhaps a growing trend in Australia business of a negative outlook about the future.
4) Be realistic, come to understand your organisation will experience “shitty” days from time to time, encourage resilience especially with younger generations who may not have been schooled in this.
5) Be proud of your values and successes, remember to celebrate.
6) You lead honestly and your people will follow.
To some this may be seen to be a very simplistic message, I can only retort, over many years I have witnessed many businesses who have followed these guidelines and continue to be successful.
Like many things in this life we tend to overcomplicate things, time to return we know really work.